Grim Anniversary

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the Carolinas tornado outbreak of 1984.

Posted Updated

Nate Johnson

The statistics read like something you'd find in Tornado Alley:

  • 24 tornadoes
  • 3 states
  • 10 hours
  • 57 killed
  • 1200+ injured

Unfortunately, it wasn't in Tornado Alley -- it was here in the Carolinas and northeastern Georgia.  Of the 57 killed, 44 were in North Carolina, making this outbreak the deadliest on record for our state.  To put that in perspective, that one event accounts for nearly half of the tornado deaths in North Carolina since 1950.

In looking over the National Weather Service's case study of the event, one item stands out.  Roughly a third of the victims were killed in mobile homes.  This underscores what you hear when we talk about severe weather: when a tornado approaches, a mobile home is not safe place to be. Even with advancements in construction techniques and tie-downs, mobile homes remain vulnerable to high winds found in tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Thankfully, our state has not seen a similar outbreak since then, but that doesn't mean we are immune.  While we may be entering a drier time of the year, we are also entering a more favorable time of year for tornadoes.  We're always watching the weather for you, but when it comes up, we all have to be "weather aware."  We can't prevent a similar outbreak from taking place, but if we work together, we can keep everyone safe.

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