1974 tornado outbreak

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"Super Outbreak" redirects here. For other tornado outbreaks, see Tornado outbreak.

The 1974 tornado outbreak, also known as the Super Outbreak, was an outbreak of 148 confirmed tornadoes across 13 states from Michigan to Alabama on April 34, 1974. There were 319 fatalities across the affected states, with 77 fatalities in Alabama as a result of at least eight tornadoes in the state, but the immediate Birmingham area was largely spared.

The outbreak remains one of the most outstanding severe convective weather episodes of record in the continental United States. The outbreak far surpassed previous and succeeding events in severity, longevity and extent, with the notable exception of the April 2011 tornado outbreak. This outbreak was the deadliest since the 1936 Tupelo-Gainesville tornado outbreak. Its death toll would also not be surpassed until the April 2011 tornado outbreak killed 324 people.

Outbreak summary

The first Alabama tornado briefly touched down at 4:30 p.m. in the Concord area eight miles west of Birmingham and destroyed one building, damaged a house and a mobile home, but produced no casualties. It was later rated an F2.

The only other tornado in the area was an F4 that touched down at 7:00 p.m. five miles north of Aliceville (Pickens County) and moved almost continuously on the ground for nearly an hour before hitting Jasper (Walker County) at 7:58 p.m. Numerous stores and commercial buildings damaged and several destroyed. The Walker County Courthouse was severely damaged and the fire station was demolished. The tornado then began a skipping path northeastward and heavily damaged a four-block area in southeast Cullman about 8:40 p.m. This storm finally lifted over northeast Cullman County, leaving three dead and 178 injured. Along the entire 120-mile path, 500 buildings were destroyed and 381 were severely damaged.