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The 1920's
Natural Disasters
The Tri-State Tornado of 1925



The Tri-State Tornado of 1925
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.19

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    storm-producing, tornado-spotter, low-pressure, eyewitness, windstorm, destruction, destructive, further, spotter, billion, funnel-shaped, twister, skyward, spiral, maximum, public
     content words:    Fujita Scale, Weather Bureau, Mississippi River, West Frankfort, De Soto, Wabash River, Tri-State Tornado, Harold Brooks, National Severe Storms Lab


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The Tri-State Tornado of 1925
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     A tornado is a localized, violently destructive windstorm that occurs over land. It is characterized by a long, funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground. The cloud is made visible by condensation and debris. In 1925, the most destructive and powerful tornado in American history hit Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The 219-mile track left by this tornado was the longest tornado track ever recorded in the world. The wind speeds were recorded at between 216 and 318 mph. Nearly fifty years later, the Tri-State Tornado's force was measured as a level F5 on the Fujita Scale. This is the maximum damage rating for a tornado.
 
2     The forecast for the area was for showers and cooler temperatures. The U.S. Weather Bureau had been tracking a cold low-pressure system coming down from Canada. A warm front from the Gulf of Mexico met this cold front pushing the warm air skyward. This push caused the two systems to lift, creating a storm-producing spiral. The skies turned black over Missouri. At 1 PM, a column of twisting air appeared in Ellington. A tornado had begun. An Ellington farmer was the first person to lose his life.
 
3     The tornado followed a northeast course of direction. Within fourteen minutes it had reached Annapolis, Missouri. There, it killed two people and nearly destroyed the entire town. The tornado continued its northeast path, killing and injuring people all along the way. It crossed the Mississippi River at 74 mph. When it left Missouri, it had taken the lives of thirteen people in 83 short minutes.

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