how long did the natchez tornado last
The central and northern portions of Natchez were slammed by the funnel and many buildings were completely destroyed. The place, Natchez, Mississippi. There were a large number of boats anchored at Natchez that fateful day. The following two tabs change content below. The clouds seen by the residents were described as “black masses, some stationary and some whirling” but the storm caused “no particular alarm” amongst the residents of Natchez. Its course was observed to be from south 72 degrees west to north 72 degrees east, and the track to be from 300–400 yards [274–366 meters] wide. It was said that during the tornado the water rose between 10 and 15 feet, and that the water was whipped to such an extent where even a experienced swimmer “could not sustain themselves on the surface”4. The day started out as “excessively sultry. The damage area equates to a tornado width of nearly a mile wide, though some reports had the width near two miles when including Vidalia across the river3. 4 Lloyd, James. “Lloyd’s steamboat directory, and disasters on the western waters” 1856. In the Journal of the Joint Commission under date of May 26, 1840 at page 62 of said document, is written the following: “Stanley Nelson: ‘Our beautiful city is shattered’.” Concordia Sentinel. of Cong., Washington, D.C. Lib. Pg. Shortly before 1 p.m., a mile-wide tornado -- raging with timber, water and debris of every nature -- slammed into Natchez and Vidalia. Friday Eve., 6 o'clock. Damage was described with equivalents to gunpowder and “all the cannons of Austerlitz”3 (Austerlitz was a large European battle in 1805). The tornado first touched down around 20 miles southwest of Natchez and moved primarily in a northeast direction2. Total (accounted for) damage was estimated at $1,260,000 Dollars (1840), which is around 33 million in 2016 dollars. There were two kinds of boats anchored at Natchez that day. This was supposed to be the same tornado which occasioned such dreadful destruction of human lives and houses in Natchez on the 7th of May." The Free Trader stated that "Reports have come in from plantations 20 miles distant in Louisiana, and the rage of the tempest was terrible. James Hyde is a graduate student of Emergency Management at North Dakota State University in Fargo,ND. The river shore below the bluff (right) is where most of the boats, as described in the next section, would have been anchored. The tornado formed southwest of Natchez and moved northeast along the Mississippi River. As the river churned with massive waves and whitecaps, flatboats and men were tossed into the air like sardines. The tornado first touched down around 20 miles southwest of Natchez and moved primarily in a northeast direction 2. 2017. Perhaps rain-wrapped, at around 2:10 p.m1 it moved into town. Due to their status at the time, it is likely they were not counted in many or any death counts. It is also one of the few tornadoes to have killed more people than it injured: only 109 were injured. 2017. Some reports had the deaths in this area in the “hundreds” but these deaths were never confirmed. The vortex then struck the riverport of Natchez Landing, located below the bluff from Natchez. It started around Natchez Island from the top of the bluff next to the river3. The steamer Prairie, ironically filled with a cargo of lead at the time, sunk4. , Numerous other deaths may have occurred further along the path as the tornado struck rural portions of Concordia Parish, Louisiana as well. Given it occurred so early in our history, the tornado was of course never rated, but the general consensus is that it was likely an F/EF-4 or F/EF-5. Enviromental Films, 1993. Submitted by Stu Beitler. There were also steamboats on the river as well. The steamer Hinds was badly damaged but did not sink. The clouds seen by the residents were described as “black masses, some stationary and some whirling” but the storm caused “no particular alarm” amongst the residents of Natchez. The actual death toll may be higher than what is listed, as slave deaths were often not counted during this time period.. We do not know. However, the storm that produced the tornado lasted for around 30 minutes 3. above from the NPS and Marc. This windstorm tossed 60 flatboats into the river, drowning their crews and passengers. The town of Natchez was basically completely destroyed by the twister, with the central and northern parts of town facing the most complete destruction3. These observations were made on the Sabine River which is the boundary between Louisiana and Texas. Other boats were picked up and thrown onto land. Web. The Great Natchez Tornado hit Natchez, Mississippi on May 7, 1840. Many doing business on shore were also killed. The tornado followed the river north, scraping the far southern and eastern edge of the town of Vidalia. Just before 2 p.m., the sky darkened so much that residents in town eating dinner had to light candles in order to see. The final death toll was 48 on land and 269 on the river, mostly from the sinking of flatboats. Dr Martin Phillips at Edwards, Mississippi (70 miles [112 km] east of Natchez) and Bennet A. Barrow of Florida Parish, Louisiana both noted vigorous winds and heavy rains with the passage of a cold front on the 7th and clear, unseasonably cold conditions with northerly winds by May 9. It is also one of the few tornadoes to have killed more people than it injured: only 109 were injured. 199 (27th Congress, 2nd Session) was the report of the Commission to fix the demarcation between the United States and the Republic of Texas. The death toll is slightly disputed because of the land death toll of 48. At Natchez Landing, the destruction of dwellings, stores, steamboats and flatboats was almost complete. The Natchez tornado was in 1840, and it is hard to get reliable information from records that old. Another 269 were killed as the tornado destroyed numerous flatboats on the river. Debunking the myth. Lloyd’s Steamboat Disasters lists the number of lives lost at around 4004, though this number was likely subject to large error. As best as historical documentation indicates, the tornado came right up the river, with the left edge passing over the camera and the center of the tornado off to the east (left), where it destroyed the city. It is the second deadliest single tornado in United States history, killing 317 people (the only tornado in the United States to have killed more people was the Tri-State Tornado). This was mostly because a town to the north, Vicksburg, had levied a tax on boat anchoring. Pg. Of the 120 flatboats docked at Natchez, 116 of them sunk. The actual number of casualties, however, may have been much higher, because in pre-Civil War Mississippi, slave deaths would not necessarily have been recorded. Winds at New Orleans in the afternoon were from the southeast at 45 mph (72 km/h). At New Orleans, the barometric pressure would bottom out in the early evening. May 7, 1840, is a date long remembered in Natchez as a day of tragedy and destruction. Damage was also reported to have occurred on plantations on the Louisiana side of the river. The central and northern portions of Natchez were slammed by the funnel as, according to one account, "the air was black with whirling eddies of walls, roofs, chimneys and huge timbers from distant ruins...all shot through the air as if thrown from a mighty catapult.". 1840; DREADFUL VISITATION OF PROVIDENCE. First hand accounts say that the tornado itself lasted anywhere from three to five minutes3. Natchez, MS Terrible Tornado Destruction, May 1840. 2 Grazulis, Thomas P. Significant tornadoes 1680-1991: A chronology and analysis of events. US Tornadoes: Past 48 Hours. It followed the river directly, stripping forests from both shores.
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