U.S. News

Six of the Worst Twisters in US History

Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News

The Worst Twisters

Fire burns in the aftermath of a deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.

The full extent of the destruction caused by the enormous tornado that ripped through Oklahoma was still being determined on Tuesday. At least two dozen people were killed. Entire blocks of homes were flattened. At one hospital alone 85 patients, including 65 children, were being treated for injuries. And many were still missing. Here's a look at how this horrific storm, pictured here, compares to some of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.

- By Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News

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Joplin, Mo. - May 22, 2011

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Peak winds, roaring over 200 miles per hour, destroyed the Missouri town, killing 162 people and causing an estimated $2.8 billion in damage, according to the National Weather Service. The Weather Channel's severe weather expert Greg Forbes estimates more than 17,000 people were affected. Nearly two years later, the town is still rebuilding.

Tuscaloosa, Ala. - April 27, 2011

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The F4 tornado killed 65 during a record-setting day when 200 twisters spun through the Southeast. The spring and summer of 2011 was one of the most active, deadly and destructive periods of tornado activity in U.S. history. That year there were a reported 551 fatalities and $28 billion in damages, according to the Almanac.

Worcester, Mass. - June 9, 1953

Boston Globe | Getty Images

Areas outside the Midwest are not immune from tornadoes. In 1953 a cyclone tore through Massachusetts and killed 90, making it the worst in New England history.

Tupelo, Miss./Gainesville, Ga. - April 5 and 6, 1936

Gainesville, April 1936
Photo: Georgiaweatherhistory.com

Two tornadoes merged over Gainesville, Ga., just northeast of Atlanta, on April 6, 1936. The twisters came just one day after a tornado took more than 200 lives in Tupelo, Miss. Overall, the two-day death toll was 454.

"Tri-State Tornado" - March 18, 1925

Minnie (left) and Rose Hawkins sit amongst the wreckage of their home in Murphysboro, Illinois, in the wake of the tri-state tornado, March 1925
Topical Press Agency | Hulton Archive | Getty Images

The deadliest tornado in American history ripped through Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing 747 people. Particularly affected was Murphysboro, Ill., where a whopping 234 were killed, according to The Weather Channel.

St. Louis, Mo. - May 27, 1896

Photo: PhotoLibrary | NOAA | Wikipedia

The tornado hit downtown St. Louis, crossed the Mississippi River and slammed through East St. Louis. It killed 255 and caused $2.54 billion in damage, when adjusted for inflation. The storm was the costliest twister in U.S. history before Joplin.