Remembering the tornado Super Outbreak of 1974

In under 24 hours, 148 tornadoes swept across 13 states.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Today marks 47 years since the 1974 Tornado Super Outbreak—the second largest tornado outbreak in U.S. history. In under 24 hours, 148 tornadoes swept across 13 states. Twenty-seven of those tornadoes hit parts of Kentucky, including Louisville and Brandenburg.

An F4 tornado directly hit Louisville, killing three people and injuring more than 200 others. The tornado first struck near the fairgrounds and caused the most damage as it moved into the city’s east end, destroying homes, businesses and parks along the way.

In Meade County, 31 people were killed when an F5 tornado struck Brandenburg, leveling homes and businesses. It was the only reported tornado to produce F5 damage in Kentucky.

A total of 315 people were killed and thousands were injured in the outbreak which stretched from Alabama to Ontario, Canada. 

At one point, 15 tornadoes were on the ground at the same time.

In 2011, the 1974 outbreak was later eclipsed by a second Super Outbreak in the southern U.S. 

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