Super Outbreak Today

If 148 tornadoes moved across the same areas today as they did back in 1974 would you say it would be more of an impact, less of an impact, or do you really believe 148 tornadoes did occur and we have seen bigger outbreaks since???

I just got done reading a book about the whole Louisville Ky, story and devastation and it opened up a few questions, it seems so many people were unprepared for that outbreak in the public sense......my opinion on this is that if the EXACT same thing happened today that damage totals would be more, but death would be lower! I have a book on Xenia, OH, that i am about to start reading but i was wondering if anyone had thoughts on what the situation would be like if 148 tornadoes roared across the same areas.....Even more, can you imagine how many chasers would be out there???? but on the flip side i dont know if we have really seen a worse outbreak than that may 29th n may 30th 2004 had something like 150-200 tornadoes i think?

i just opened up a food for thought, something that intrigued me if we have better documentation and better resources to cut down on the death and maybe some of those Tor that hit that day we overrated??? im not trying to argue or anything i just wanted to know some thoughts......
 
Any event in history that was duplicated today would always be more costly, simply because of inflation. As far as deaths, depends on what part of the country. In the southeast, another outbreak of that magnitude could easily take as many if not more lives, because of complacency, population density, lack of viewing (due to topography; trees, hills, etc etc), and the HP tendancy of supercells in that region.

I'd expect less deaths in the Plains because it's sparsely-populated (compared to the southeast), flatter (can see things coming better), and although it's still more-or-less complacent ("we had no warning"...yeah whatever), there's still a bit more awareness and experience with tornadoes.
 
IMO I believe tornado coverage and detection is pumped up quite a bit more nowadays than back in 1974. I suspect with every event nowadays a lot of the 'brief touchdowns' are questionable. However if you had more chasers and better doppler back in '74 there would have probably been more logged tornadoes too. Based on that I think I would still say that '74 was a bigger event than the May 2004 event.

That said and as mentioned, sure there is more inflation so dollar damage would be more. If you adjusted for inflation I'd guess there would still be more damage because I believe the general trend is more development and population growth in the US. So torns would be more likely nowadays to hit structures than in the past. On the other hand I believe death and injury would be far less. I think the tech is much better nowadays. SPC forecasts are much better, NWS is better trained with better equipment. People are more knowledgeable about tornadoes in general due to all the sensational shows on tornadoes and chasers. There is a much larger spotter network with probably better training. Chasers are also everywhere now providing more ground truth with fewer torns getting through the net undetected.

So to summarize: There would be more damage, but fewer deaths and injuries today if the same event transpired as back in '74.
 
If 148 tornadoes moved across the same areas today as they did back in 1974 would you say it would be more of an impact, less of an impact, or do you really believe 148 tornadoes did occur and we have seen bigger outbreaks since???

Interesting question, because of our increased population I do think more people and property would be affected. I bet the damage cost in $ would set new records even when adjusted for inflation. It is a little harder to know if the death toll would be higher. As a % of people directly affected by a tornado I think fewer would be injured or killed. My thinking is that 148 recorded tornadoes is most likely less that what actually occurred.

I just got done reading a book about the whole Louisville Ky, story and devastation and it opened up a few questions, it seems so many people were unprepared for that outbreak in the public sense......my opinion on this is that if the EXACT same thing happened today that damage totals would be more, but death would be lower! I have a book on Xenia, OH, that i am about to start reading but i was wondering if anyone had thoughts on what the situation would be like if 148 tornadoes roared across the same areas.....Even more, can you imagine how many chasers would be out there???? but on the flip side i dont know if we have really seen a worse outbreak than that may 29th n may 30th 2004 had something like 150-200 tornadoes i think?

I think a lot of chasers would chase but not as many as we normally get over the last week of May. Chasing the 1974 outbreak would be a lot like chasing on March 12, 2006, fast moving storms over poor terrain with many of the violent tornadoes occurring overnight. It would not be an easy chase. I don’t think May 29-30, 2004 should be considered a single outbreak because (I believe) there was a clear break without supercells and tornadoes for several hours between days. The April 3-4, 1974 outbreak didn’t have any significant gaps without tornadoes.

i just opened up a food for thought, something that intrigued me if we have better documentation and better resources to cut down on the death and maybe some of those Tor that hit that day we overrated??? im not trying to argue or anything I just wanted to know some thoughts......

Right or wrong I think only one or two of the 1974 tornadoes would be rated F5 or EF5 on the new damage scale. Regardless, I still think the April 3-4, 1974 was the most significant outbreak of violent tornadoes in recorded history of tornadoes. It may be the 500-year outbreak so I am not holding my breath waiting to see the next one. In the next 10 years with improving documentation of tornadoes I think it is likely that we will see an outbreak that tops 148 tornadoes, although comparing the counts form 1974 with ones from 2010 isn't all that useful.
 
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While we have not seen another 4/3/74 caliber outbreak since then, we've had some contenders. November 10, 2002 is a good gauge on what we might expect with another Super Outbreak.

In the affected region, I don't think there is a significantly greater public awareness and preparedness for tornadoes than there was in 1974. I think our improved forecasting and warnings will balance out the increase in the affected population to result in roughly the same number of casualties.

The climatology, storm speed and terrain of a spring or fall event will keep most chasers from biting on the next Super Outbreak - but for those who do chase, it could end up being like a 5/3/99. On 4/3/74, a best-case chase you could have cell-hopped from Xenia southward down through central Kentucky/Tennessee and caught as many as 6-10 tornadic storms. Chase terrain in these areas is not as bad as you would expect - no worse than eastern OK and Missouri.
 
interesting responses, i totally agree that more devastation would occur......2-3 F4-F5's hitting huntsville alabama in a matter of hours, cincy, louisville, xenia, and the list goes on you could basically hold up a map of the area and throw a dart and that town was somehow affected by the storms

if i remember correctly i thought i saw a storm report page from SPC of 140 tornadoes hitting on march 12th? i think that could be close if they are all verified?
 
I know Xenia is prepared. I was there on business back in 2004 for a couple months. I'd go into a bar or restuarant and ask someone about the 1974 tornado and soon thereafter, practically the whole place would get involved in the conversation. It was fascinating listening to the stories people told of their experiences during the 1974 event as well as the 2000 event. You drive around Xenia today and you'll see street signs that direct you to tornado shelters.
 
I am banking on the next big tornado outbreak to be in the C/S Plains/Missouri Valley area. Deep surface low takes off from NE Colorado for SW Minnesota and warm front lifts towards Nebraska and Iowa. Just have that feeling. I don't know if I can say that there will ever be another Super Outbreak in my lifetime. It takes so much to gel for something that tremendous to happen. There have been some that have tried to be that caliber, but it does not seem that all the factors were lined up as perfectly. June 2, 1990 was one of those days.

The improvements in technology would certainly help drop the death toll for sure. The public awareness of warnings is not a whole lot better, but certainly tv coverage helps as do the many chasers reporting now. Back then it was spotters and Joe Public only...and a very limited WSR-57 (ughh!)
 
There would be undoubtedly be ~100 deaths if the Super Outbreak occurred today. There are better warning systems, but the population density is greater today. Damage would be significantly higher, perhaps ranging into the billions.

interesting responses, i totally agree that more if i remember correctly i thought i saw a storm report page from SPC of 140 tornadoes hitting on march 12th? i think that could be close if they are all verified?
I believe that the final count on March 12 was only around 50 or 60. Many of the reports were multiple sightings of the same tornado.
 
I believe that the final count on March 12 was only around 50 or 60. Many of the reports were multiple sightings of the same tornado.

yeah thats what i figured.... but it was weird to see that right off the bat a couple days later that 140 tornado reports

as long as IL gets a part of the action i could care less where the next outbreak is!!! :D
 
This is an awesome site to explore for those interested in 740403:

http://www.april31974.com/index.html

I was in high school in Columbus that day, an hour from Xenia. Not too long ago, I asked my dad what he remembered of that day. He said the sky was "weird". All I really remember was that the next morning, the Columbus Dispatch had, I think, about 30 or 40 pages of coverage devoted to the event. Maybe that was the April 5 paper...

It has a lot to do with why I chase.
 
I wonder how rare something like the Super Outbreak would be - something like a 1 in 1,000 year or 1 in 500 year event? I wonder if a link existed between La Nina and the Super Outbreak? There was a La Nina event in 1973-74, probably a strong one, and there seems to be increased number of strong spring tornadoes in the Southeast US compared to the Southern Plains during La Nina events.
 
i wonder what the SPC outlook would be for the super outbreak today like all the areas affected in 74 today how big would the high risk area be and wtc the tornado probabilities.............i know i would have busted big time because i would have been inclined to chase in illinois and once those first 4 or 5 tornadoes hit around 2 or 3 pm that was the end
 
More damage due to increased constuction. Less loss of life due to better NWS warnings.

Pat
 
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