Top 10 DEADLIEST Tornadoes Ever Recorded
They’re a devastating force of nature, capable of leveling entire towns in a matter of minutes. Tornadoes are a signature of Mother Nature’s wrath, and in this installment, we’re strapping up Dorothy 5 and chasing after the ten deadliest twisters throughout history.
Daulatpur-Saturia, Bangladesh, 1989
Poor Bangladesh can’t seem to catch a break. Six of the ten deadliest tornadoes have occurred on its lands and, of course, one of them is the deadliest known twister in history. The landslide record breaker near doubled the death count of the second highest twister, killing a staggering 1,300 and leaving near 80,000 people homeless On April 26th, 1989, estimated winds of 180 to 350 Kilometers or 110 to 220 Miles Per Hour ripped apart the unprepared district of Manikganj. Reports state that the tornado was so devastating that it left no infrastructure in its wake, even uprooting much of the area’s trees.
Madarganj, Bangladesh, 1996
Near 20,000 families felt the effects of the May 13th, 1996 tornado that blew through Madarganj, Bangladesh, a number that is far more devastating when broken down into over 37,000 injured and approximately 700 dead. The twister took the lives of many, but even those that survived were left with little to nothing as over 35,000 homes were destroyed and near 6,700 head of livestock perished. Though relief efforts did their best, the death toll continued to rise even long after the twister had passed due to infections.
Tri-State Tornado, 1925
It seems that the United States is no stranger to nature’s aggression, but one tornado in the history the US stands out as the third worst in the history of the world. The F5 twister formed on March 18th, 1925 during an outbreak of 12 other known tornadoes. The Tri-State tornado sped through southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southwest Indiana, traveling over 200 damaging miles in total. The Tri-State tornado was on ground for a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes. During that time it killed 695 people, most of them in Illinois.
Manikganj, Bangladesh, 1973
It’s a tragedy when a tornado rips through an entire district, but when the beast of Mother Nature has enough power to shred three locations, it’s a terrifying event. It was April 17th, 1973 when the districts of Manikganj, Singair, and Nawabganj in Bangladesh fell victim to a powerful twister. The high-speed winds of the swirling force leveled the village of Balurchar and took the lives of an estimated 681 civilians. Along with Balurchar, eight other villages were left nearly destroyed, leaving many survivors with no home to return to.
Dacca, East Pakistan, 1969
April 14th, 1969 proved a dark day in Pakistani history when the area of Dacca in East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, was struck by a terrible tornado that showed no regard for the lives it quickly tore apart. After the storm finally let up and emergency services were able to sift through the rubble, it was determined that around 660 lives had been lost and 4,000 people were left injured. To add to the horror of April 14th, a second twister had touched down in Homna Upazila on the same day, killing an additional 223 people.
Valletta, Malta, 1551
This Southern European island country in the Mediterranean may see its fair share of tornadoes here and there, but none has met the destructive capacity of the 1551 Valletta tornado. The name may be a bit confusing, considering Valletta wasn’t established until after 1566, but there’s no confusing the onset of destruction from this tornado. By the time the twister dissipated, it had leveled countless properties, killed some 600 Malta residents and visitors, and even capsized four vessels from the navy of The Order of St. John.
Madaripur-Shibchar, Bangladesh, 1977
There was nothing foolish about the April 1st, 1977 tornado that broke through the villages of Madaripur and Shibchar, Bangladesh and claimed a heart wrenching number of lives. On top of the estimated 500 lives that were lost to nature’s power, reports state that very few trees were left standing after the twister had dissipated. The number of residents left homeless is unknown, but it is undoubtedly a staggering number as the tornado left little standing in its wake.
Sicily, Italy, 1851
The beautiful landscape of Sicily’s countryside are a dream to observe, but they’re certainly not immune from the wrath of nature. In 1851, the town of Marsala found itself a target of what would go down as one of the deadliest tornadoes in history. What started as two reported waterspouts grew into a pair of devastating twisters that had nothing in their way to stop them from nearly leveling the town in western Italy, or what was then known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Rain and heavy hailstorms added additional damage, but the brutality of the tornadoes left an estimated 500 dead.
Narail-Magura, Bangladesh, 1964
It’s not often that a tornado claims upward of 500 lives, but when one does, it’s bound to go down in history. The April 11th, 1964 touchdown in Narail-Magura, Bangladesh ripped apart 27 different villages, leaving behind it a grisly wake of destruction. Villagers had nowhere to hide from the powerful tornado and while many bodies were found mangled in the trees, an estimated 400 villagers from Bhabanipur were never found. The tornado was so destructive that there was controversy over the death toll, with the count unofficially reported at 1,400.
St. Louis, Missouri, 1896
May 27th, 1896 started as any other day in St. Louis, Missouri, but nature had other plans for the city’s unsuspecting residents. A series of tornadoes started to touch down around Missouri, striking Bellflower and Audrain County and killing several citizens; but the worst was still to come. An F4 twister formed right over St. Louis and brought with it a fatality count of 255. The number may not be as striking as others on this list, but the cost of the 1896 outbreak is too staggering to ignore. Inflated for 2015, the twister incurred $4.2 billion worth of damages, the highest of any tornado to date.