The Super Tornado Outbreak on April 3-4, 1974 was the worst such outbreak in United States history. Overall, 148 tornadoes touched down across 13 states from the Great Lakes to the Southeast within a 16-hour period. When the storms finally dissipated, 330 persons were killed, 5,484 were injured, and the damage path covered 2,500 miles. The total cost of the outbreak was estimated around 600 million dollars.
There were also some other staggering statistics from this event. The first, just how many violent tornadoes touched down. Within 24 hours, there were 30 “violent” tornadoes (F4 or F5). The yearly average of violent tornadoes is about 7! That’s over 4 times the yearly average!
One of the 6 F5 tornadoes completely destroyed the town of Brandenburg. Fifteen minutes after the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for the Brandenburg area, the storm destroyed 128 homes and 30 businesses in the small town-- many of them swept completely away. The 2400-foot-wide F5 took the lives of 31 people, 28 from Brandenburg alone. The tornado crossed the Ohio River at F4 strength and then quickly dissipated over southern Harrison County.
There are some other crazy statistics. The combined path length of all tornadoes was over 2500 miles! This is more than double the next closest outbreak, the November 1992 Outbreak. That's roughly the distance between San Francisco and Atlanta! And sadly, 48 tornadoes were "killers". Again, this more than doubles the next closest outbreak (Palm Sunday 1965).