1974 tornado outbreak still stands as the most significant to hit Indiana

Posted at 9:52 PM, Apr 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-03 22:22:42-04

April 3rd, 1974 still stands as the most significant and most devastating tornado outbreak to hit Indiana. Twenty-one tornadoes hit the state that day - all but one of those occurred during a six-hour window in the afternoon.

One tornado was on the ground for more than 100 miles, tracking from northwest of Lafayette to north of Ft. Wayne, causing some of the worst destruction in Monticello; including considerable damage to the courthouse.

At one point the tornado was reported to be a half mile wide and was rated an F4, with winds of 166 to 200 mph. That single long track tornado was responsible for 19 of the 47 Hoosier fatalities that day. The tornadoes were quick movers - many traveling at a mile a minute.

Indiana wasn't alone. One hundred forty-eight tornadoes swept across 13 states between April 3rd and April 4th, 1974, making it the largest outbreak in U.S. history.

One of the biggest challenges in saving lives that day was getting the warning out to people quickly. Technology has come a long way since 1974. One of the easiest ways to get severe weather alerts as they're issued is with the free Storm Shield app.

The app is available now in your app store.