Oklahoma Tornado of 2013
Downed power lines, hissing gas pipes and immense devastation stood in the way of rescuers searching systematically for survivors and victims of a massive tornado that pulverized a vast swath of the Oklahoma City suburbs on May 20, 2013.
The Monday afternoon storm carved a trail through the area as much as two miles wide and 17 miles long. Hardest hit was Moore, Oklahoma -- a suburban town of about 56,000 and the site of eerily similar twisters in 1999 and again four years later.
Helicopter images showed large tracts of Moore completely leveled by what the National Weather Service says was at least an EF-4 tornado with winds in excess of 166 mph. The tornado stayed on the ground for 40 minutes.
The state medical examiner's office said 24 people were confirmed dead, including nine children.Earlier reports claiming that there were 51 deaths were erroneous, but the official death toll is unclear and could still rise. More than 230 people were injured in the storm and at least 100 people were pulled alive from the rubble by rescuers.
The Daulatpur-Salturia Tornado
Killing an estimated 1,300 people in a matter of minutes, the Daulatpur-Salturia tornado is believed to be the deadliest tornado on record. The twister hit the Manikganj District, Bangladesh, on April 26, 1989, at around 6:00 p.m. local time.
Prior to the tornado, a drought had been in effect for around six months, one factor that is believed to intensify tornadic conditions. Unsurprisingly, the tornado completely leveled the already barren land, uprooting trees and leveling an area spanning one mile wide, the estimated size of the tornado.
Overall, around 12,000 people were injured by the tornado and a total of 80,000, mostly in the towns of Saturia and Manikganj, which were completely destroyed, were left homeless.
1969 East Pakistan Tornado
Taking place when the city of Dacca was part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the 1969 East Pakistan tornado hit the highly populated area on April 14. That tornado, which struck in the northeastern suburbs of the town, killed an estimated 660 people and injured a total of 4,000.
As horrible as that tragedy was, it was only one of two deadly tornadoes to hit Bangladesh on April 14, 1969. A second twister touched down in the Homna Upazila, part of the Comilla District in Chittagong, Bangladesh, that same day.
The tornadoes were part of the same storm system, but separate from one another. Overall, once the estimated 223 deaths from the Homna Upazila tornado were added into the 660 from the Dacca twister, the total of 883 deaths makes this day the second deadliest of all days in history for tornado-related deaths.
Madarganj to Mrizapur Tornado
As one of the most recent of the deadliest tornadoes in history, an estimated 700 people perished after a huge tornado touched down from Madarganj to Mrizapur in Bangladesh on May 13, 1996. While the number of injuries were not known, the 700 deaths from the single twister make this the second single deadliest tornado on record.
As the tornado traveled south from Madarganj to Mirzapur in Bangladesh, a distance of over 100 kilometers, it also destroyed an estimated 30,000 homes. Among others, it took out several districts including Madarganj, Gopalpur, Kallhati, Basail, Shakipur and Mrizapur in Jamalpur and Tangail.
The Tri-State Tornado
Coming in as the third deadliest tornado ever and the deadliest tornado to hit the United States, the Tri-State Tornado is one for the record books. More than doubling the number of deaths from the previous record, set in 1840 when the Great Natchez Tornado killed 317, the Tri-State Tornado claimed 695 lives on Wednesday, March 18, 1925.
Hitting the highest rating on the Fujita scale, an F5, the Tri-State Tornado lasted 3.5 hours and spawned eight additional tornadoes which brought the number of fatalities from the storm near 750.
While the name suggests the Tri-State Tornado hit three United States, it actually reached as many as seven once the other smaller tornadoes were factored in. The main twister, which caused the most deaths, started in Missouri, moved through Illinois and ended its run in Indiana. The other smaller tornadoes touched down in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Kansas.
The Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj Tornado
Named after the three main areas that were destroyed in its path, the Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj Tornado took the likes of 681 people on April 17, 1973. Overall, the wide tornado destroyed the greater part of nine towns, including wiping out the entire large village of Balurchar.
The 681 fatalities rose as much as oer 1,000 in some unofficial death tolls and was likely the result of the massive size of the twister. According to reports, two tornadoes combined to form one massive tornado, which then went on a path of destruction throughout Bangladesh.
Overall, the Manikganj, Singair and Nawabganj Tornado, using the confirmed death toll of 681, ranks as the fourth deadliest in world history.
The Valetta, Malta, Tornado
Easily the oldest tornado to cause massive damage and claim a high number of lives, the Valetta, Malta, Tornado killed over 600 when it struck the Grand Harbour of Malta. As the tornado took place so long ago, sources are conflicting regarding when the tornado actually hit with September 23, 1951, and 1956 both being reported.
One thing is clear, the tornado began as a waterspout, a vortex very similar to a tornado that starts over water, then moved to land where it killed hundreds. The waterspout made an unfortunate landing right on the Grand Harbour of Malta, completely destroying a shipping armada in the bay.
The Sicily Tornado
Similar to the Valetta, Malta, Tornado, the 1851 Sicily Tornado started as a waterspout before moving onshore. Also similar, the age of the incident, which took place in December 1851, leaves few details of what actually happened, though an estimated 500 people perished that day.
According to reports, two waterspouts combined as they reached the shore of Sicily, Italy, and morphed into two large and violent tornadoes. Another theory of the incident denied the presence of two tornadoes but rather reported the destruction from a multiple-vortex tornado. A multiple-vortex tornado, different from a family of tornadoes, includes several areas of rotation inside of a single tornado.
Regardless if this incident featured one tornado or two, it was at the time one of the deadliest and most destructive natural disasters in history. The estimated 500 deaths put the incident seventh among all tornadoes in world history and the deadliest tornado ever to hit Italy.
The Narail-Magura Tornado
Despite occurring only back on April 11, 1964, the Narail-Magura Tornado, share characteristics with ancient tornadoes in that the details of the natural disaster are quite unclear. What is known is that the twister killed an estimated 500 people, though the total death toll could be much more.
The Narail-Magura Tornado hit the cities in Bangladesh, destroying a total of seven villages. One village, Bhabanipur, was home to 400 citizens, all of which were either confirmed dead or never seen or heard from again after the disaster. Overall, as many as 1,400 were either killed or went missing from the incident.
The Comoro Tornado
As the deadliest tornado to hit the continent of Africa, the Comoro Tornado killed and estimated 500 people when it struck in 1951. Similar to the Sicily Tornado that same year, the Comoro Tornado started out as a waterspout, then struck land and continued to intensify on a deadly path.
Few details of the tragedy are known other than the year, approximate number of deaths and location. The Comoros, archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean on the eastern coast of Africa, were under French rule at the time, but later gained independence in 1975.
The Madaripur-Shibchar Tornado
As yet another deadly tornado to strike in Bangladesh, the Madaripur-Shibchar Tornado claimed an estimated 500 lives when it hit on April 1, 1977. The path of destruction as the twister traveled from the one city to another, all south of the city of Dhaka, was vast with hundreds injured.
In addition to claiming lives, the Madaripur-Shibchar Tornado leveled the area in both of the villages. All buildings, homes, trees and other structures in both Madaripur and Shibchar were completely destroyed by the tornado.