11 Deadliest Tornadoes In U.S. History

Tornadoes. A violent rotating column of air¬†known for causing mass destruction in the Midwest and the South. While tornadoes have tormented Tornado Alley citizens for decades, the most destructive winds have wiped out entire counties, causing millions and billions of dollars worth of damages. So what would determine if a tornado is one of the worst in United States history? Based on a 100-point scale by The Weather Channel Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes, the Forbes Index ranks the nation’s worst tornadoes by examining damages, death toll and injuries. The higher the index, the worse the tornado. Without further ado, here are the 11 deadliest tornadoes to have ever hit the United States.

11. Waco, Texas (1953)

Catastophic Events
Catastophic Events

Deaths/Injuries: 144 deaths/597 injured

Total Damages: $446 million (2011 dollars)

Forbes Index Ranking: 27.3

04_112303207
TIME

The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak was a series of 33 tornadoes over a three day period from May 9 to May 11, 1953. The Waco tornado was one of the first tornadoes to debunk the myth that tornadoes cannot strike the heart of a city. The two-block wide tornado hit the downtown area during a thunderstorm; the people of Waco were packed into department stores, banks and other buildings to escape the rain. Because of the belief that tornadoes could not touch down in  cities, many of the buildings were not structurally sound enough to withstand the winds and collapsed immediately.

18_112303117
TIME