64 Years Ago, Monster EF-4 Twister Plowed Through St. Louis
We've just passed the 64th anniversary of one of the most deadly tornadoes to ever hit Missouri. The twister that plowed through St. Louis in February of 1959 took 21 lives that dreadful night and was one of the motivations behind getting warning sirens in place in the city.
February 10, 1959 will always be remembered in St. Louis for the vicious EF-4 tornado that went through the heart of the city. The National Weather Service remembered that day on their Facebook page yesterday.
There's a Wikipedia page dedicated to this terrible twister. It says the tornado "first touched down in the southwest corner of St. Louis County in Crescent, Missouri just southwest of Sherman". Once it entered Warson Woods, it quickly intensified. By the time it began it's path of destruction through the city of St. Louis itself, it had become a monster EF-4. Wikipedia says "the tornado was on the ground for at least 35 minutes, traveled 23.9 miles (38.5 km), was 200 yards (180 m) wide, and caused $50.25 million is damage."
The enhanced Fujita Scale for measuring tornado strength rates this tragic St. Louis tornado with wind speeds up to 200 mph. Devastating. The KTVI TV tower was toppled, hundreds of homes gone and 21 souls taken.
Overall, the tornado outbreak of February 9 and February 10, 1959 would drop 17 twisters on the Midwest. 3 of the tornadoes would later be rated as dangerous EF-3's.
So many factors came into play determining why that tornado in St. Louis was so deadly. The fact that it touched down around midnight when visibility was limited and no warning sirens no doubt played a role. Very few storms have gone through the heart of St. Louis like this one did over 64 years ago.