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Tupelo Tornado of 1936

Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:42 pm

The Tupelo tornado

This is a story that Joey Sulipeck and Kip Gordon produced about the 1936 Tupelo Tornado that leveled the birthplace of Elvis!!

The Spring of 1936 brought Tupelo one of its worst-ever natural disasters. Part of the Tupelo-Gainesville outbreak of April 5–6 in that year, the Tupelo storm struck at night and destroyed large residential areas on the city's north side. One survivor of the storm was Elvis Presley, then a baby. Obliterating the Gum Pond neighborhood, the tornado dropped most of the victims' bodies in the pond. The storm has since been rated F5 on the modern Fujita scale. The Tupelo Tornado ranks as fourth deadliest in U.S. history.[citation needed]

The Tupelo tornado leveled 48 city blocks and over 200 homes, killing 216 people and injuring more than 700 persons. The Mississippi State Geologist estimated a final death toll of 233, but 100 white persons were still hospitalized at the time. Because newspapers published only the names of injured whites, due to a racially discriminatory policy that persisted into the 1940s and 1950s, it was difficult to follow up on the fates of injured blacks. Historians now estimate the death toll was higher than in official records. Fire broke out at the Lee County Training School, which was destroyed. Its bricks were salvaged for other uses.

The area is subject to tornadoes. In 2008 one rated an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale struck the town.