The 1974 tornado outbreak was a large number of tornadoes that broke out in the central States, USA, on April 3-4, 1974. During a 16-hour period, 148 tornadoes occurred from Illinois and Indiana into Michigan and Ohio southward through the Tennessee Valley into Mississippi and Alabama. This outbreak produced the largest number of tornadoes, with 30 causing F4 damage or worse. On one occasion, as many as five large tornadoes were on the ground at one time. The outbreak killed 315 people and resulted in 6,142 injuries. One tornado hit Xenia, Ohio, at 4:30 p.m., moved through the center of town and demolished the high school. Thirty-four people died and 1,150 were injured in Xenia as 300 homes were destroyed and 2,100 homes were damaged.
Never before had so many violent (F5 and F4) tornadoes been observed in a single weather phenomenon. There were six F5 tornadoes and twenty-four F4 tornadoes. The outbreak began in Morris, Illinois, at around 1:00pm on April 3. As the storm system moved east where daytime heating had made the air more unstable, the tornadoes grew more intense. A tornado that struck near Monticello, Indiana was an F4 and had a path length of 121 miles (193.6 km), the longest path length of any tornado for this outbreak. Nineteen people were killed in this tornado. The first F5 tornado of the day struck the city of Xenia, Ohio, at 4:40pm EDT. It killed 34, injured 1,150, completely destroyed about one-fourth of the city, and caused serious damage in another fourth of the city
1974 Tornado Outbreak (Video)