Remembering 1932 Tornado Outbreak

| February 25, 2007 @ 10:23 pm | 2 Replies

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the March 21, 1932 tornado outbreak that killed 315 Alabamians. It still ranks as the deadliest tornado outbreak in our state’s history.

Tornadoes touched down during at mid-afternoon near Demopolis. This was followed a short time later by a tornado near Linden and Faunsdale. Then a major F4 tornado hit Northport, killing 37 people along the 20 mile path. Cullman County felt the fury next, as 18 people died around Phelan, Bolti, Berlin and Fairview.

The action shifted south next, with a disastrous tornado that killed 49 from Perry to Coosa County, hitting Chilton County hard. Columbiana was struck around 5:10 p.m., and 14 people died there. Another tornado paralleled the first Chilton County tornado, killing another 31 people. Near Plantersville, the Lathem family was nearly wiped out.

Around 7 p.m, the activity shifted back southwest, with a tornado touch down near Greensboro. Shortly after that, people cleaning up from the first Faunsdale tornado watched in disbelief as another tornado passed nearby.

A deadly tornado targeted Gantt’s Quarry in Talladega County and then hit Sylacauga just after 7 p.m. 29 people died there. A second tornado passed near Sylacauga about an hour later.

The event would hop to North Alabama, where deadly tornadoes skipped across Lawrence and Morgan Counties, then hit the Battle Ground area of Cullman county and finally wrapped up in a deadly way as a family of tornadoes killed 32 people mainly across rural Jackson County.

I am looking for people who are survivors or descendants of survivors of the event. If you know anyone who has knowledge of the tornadoes, either directly or through passed down stories, please email me at bill.murray@theweathercompany.com or call me at (205) 602-7249.

I am planning a special collection of stories on the blog the week of the anniversary. I will tell the story of the tragic day and some of the amazing people involved.

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Bill Murray is the President of The Weather Factory. He is the site's official weather historian and a weekend forecaster. He also anchors the site's severe weather coverage. Bill Murray is the proud holder of National Weather Association Digital Seal #0001 @wxhistorian

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