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A Terrifying, Deadly Storm Struck Mississippi In 1936… And No One Saw It Coming

On April 5, 1936, one of the deadliest spates of tornadoes in United States history struck several southern states, with Mississippi receiving some of the worst damage. The first of the deadly twisters touched down in Coffeeville then headed to Tupelo, devastating the town. By the time the unexpected twister arrived in Tupelo, it was an F5 that was three blocks wide, with wind speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. According to some reports, the wind was so strong that it caused pine needles to become embedded in the trunks of trees.

When all was said and done, the tornado claimed the lives of 216 Tupelo residents; however, the number is actually much higher as the names of African-Americans were not reported. One notable survivor of the 1936 twister is Elvis Presley, who was just one-year-old at the time. Regardless of how much time has passed, this Tupelo twister remains one of the worst in the nation’s history.

Do you have any storm stories to share? Were you or your family affected by this tornado?

Daniella DiRienzo
Even though she was born in New York, Daniella has lived in the south pretty much her entire life. The self-proclaimed southerner graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011. Since graduation, she has worked as a freelance writer for several websites and opened a clothing consignment shop in her town of Picayune, MS.