Tornado Index # 19530609.25.1

 
 
 

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Note: This approximate tornado path has been generated from data provided by the SPC.

The Tornado History Project generates approximate paths through separate historical archives provided by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). Paths generated from the NCDC data are typically more detailed, but neither archive gives exact path information. There are several reasons that paths may be inaccurate:

  • Tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates were recorded with only 2 digits of decimal precision (i.e. [33.72, -86.15] vs [33.71689, -86.15463]). As a consequence, the observed points on the map may be slightly off from actual. Note that beginning in 2009, up to 4 digits of decimal precision are given.
  • Coordinates have not historically been calculated via GPS (Global Positioning System). Thus, tornado touchdown and liftoff coordinates should be considered as estimates only.
  • Tornadoes may not have been in contact with the ground for the entire path as depicted on the map. Storm damage in any location depicted under the "path" should not be inferred.
  • Although paths are drawn as straight lines between any two sets of coordinates, the tornado may have "zigzagged" in some way.
  • Although paths are drawn as uniform thin lines on the map, it is likely that the tornado changed size over its lifetime. Damage in any location depicted under (or not under) the "path" should not be inferred.

Even with the above in mind, the data is the best available. If you see a path that is depicted incorrectly, please post a comment in the tornado forum indicating why you belive the path to be incorrect.

Paths generated from NCDC data are typically more detailed due to the way coordinates are listed in each archive:

  • SPC database - A maximum of 2 coordinates (touchdown and liftoff) is given for each tornado, or each state segment of a tornado if it is a multi-state tornado. Thus the vast majority of paths are depicted as simple straight lines.
  • NCDC database - Some tornadoes have mutliple sets of coordinates within any state, generally corresponding to entry and exit points by county. Thus, since more coordinates have been used to draw the path, the depicted path should be more accurate. Having said that, most tornadoes do not have additional path data in the NCDC archive. When they do, paths are drawn from the NCDC data.

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Statistics   Definitions |?|

The following statistics and definitions are derived from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) historical tornado archive. The Tornado History Project can not guarantee the accuracy of the underlying data within the SPC historical tornado archive. However, the data as presented here is guaranteed to match the SPC data, except where noted.

Some definitions will not be given since they are obvious (i.e. "Date", "Time", etc...)
Special Note: This site uses a unique index number to identify each tornado. This index number is not a part of the official historical tornado archive.

E (Error) (tornado search table only) - A yellow box indicates that the tornado record contains a suspected error. A red box indicates that the tornado record contains an error and has been modified from the official source. Hover over the box for the error text.
Map/Forum (tornado search table only) - Clickable icons for further content related to a tornado.
State - The state or states affected by a tornado.
Fujita - The Fujita scale is an attempt to classify damage from a tornado. F0 being the least damaging, F5 the most. For 2007 and beyond, the Enhanced Fujita (EF) is given.
Fat. - The number of fatalities attributed to the tornado.
Inj. - The number of injuries attributed to the tornado.
Width - Width in yards. It is unclear if this indicates a maximum width or mean width.
Length - Length of tornado path in miles. Note the entire track length is not necessarily all on the ground (some tornadoes "hop and skip".)
Damage - Prior to 1996, this is a range by dollar amount. For 1996 and later, actual damage estimates are in millions.
Crop Loss - Added in 2007. Given in millions of dollars.
Lat/Lon - Contains two sets of coordinates:

  • Touchdown Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate touchdown location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, entry point into the state in decimal degrees.
  • Liftoff Latitude/Longitude - For single state tornadoes, and the overall record for multi-state tornadoes, the approximate liftoff location in decimal degrees. For the state specific records of multi-state tornadoes, the exit or lift-off point from the state in decimal degrees.

St. #. - The state tornado number assigned to the tornado for that specific state for that specific year. Generally, state tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.
SPC # - The tornado number as assigned by the SPC. Tornado numbers are not unique and reset each year. Generally, tornado numbers were assigned in the order the tornado occurred, but that is not always the case.

Tornado Summary

Date (y/m/d)TimeFujitaFatalitiesInjuriesWidthLengthDamageCrop LossTouchdown Lat/LonLiftoff Lat/LonSPC #State #
1953-06-0914:25:00 3494122890034.9$50M-$500M-42.47 / -72.1742.3 / -71.52278
Affected StatesAffected Counties
Massachusetts Worcester
User Comments   (4)      
General Comment
2008-03-31 16:38:11
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Bill
Posts:1
Rank: F0

I realize that according to the website, a "straight line must be drawn between begin & end points", thus skewing the path location and even the length. The begin & end points of the Worcester Tornado are inaccurate however: it formed over Quabbin Reservoir (New Salem-Petersham town line) and the funnel began at the eastern shore, several miles west of where plotted on this site. It skirted the southern edge of West St (Petersham) and did significant damage on South St, a considerable distance west of the "touchdown" as shown on this map.

The end point in Fayville (Town of Southborough) was at an indeterminate distance NE of the intersection of Rte 9 & Central St. As it still did major (F3+) damage/fatalities at that intersection, realistically the funnel would have had to continue at least a short distance before petering out altogether (yet before reaching the Framingham line 1/4 mile away).

More importantly, the fatalties (and injuries) are errors that have been perpetuated since 1953! (this is what happens when data is rigidly handed down from one source to another via 3rd parties, and of course now via computer). The correct # of fatalities due to the tornado itself is 93 (a 94th was killed in rescue efforts 2 days later). Thus either of those 2 stats is correct.

But the 90 is a clerical typo (thanks to the Red Cross in 1953) which inadvertently omitted the 2 killed in Barre and 1 in one of the other communities; but all 93/94 are listed on the memorial stone. So some sources blindly cite "90" even to this day without realizing it was a typo from early on.

Re injuries, the official tally has always been 1,288 (not 1228 which is a typo of recent 2000's vintage). Getting back to the 1,288, for some reason there were no injuries listed for Petersham (and, if memory recalls, for Barre either). I have enumerated 12 (possibly 13) additional injuries in those communities that were never cited, making the total 1300 - granted it sounds like a "convenient" number but if one reads the Barre & Athol newspapers from that week (June 1953), and listen to the WKNE interviews in Petersham of people describing their injuries, you'll see the proof.

At the very least the fatalities (& injuries) should be rectified to pay homage to those who suffered with their lives & limbs.

Thanks - Bill Chittick

General Comment
2008-09-10 01:36:35
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mike westwood
Posts:83
Rank: F3

Original source at: http://www.ci.worcester.ma.us/cco/history/tornado/


edit: this link is no longer valid

 

Edited on 2013-01-13 14:05:00 by JoshLietz

General Comment
2009-03-07 09:24:59
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lchukhin
Posts:1
Rank: F0

Thanks to Bill for clarifying the death count. I too was surprised to see the path straying so far from the F5 damage in Worcester. Dr. Chittick has published his own account of the tornado: "The Worcester Tornado, June 9, 1953" by William F. Chittick; 20 pp., $7.95 paper, bchittick@aol.com.



Here is the only movie of the skies during the tornado, followed by a survey of the damage. I believe this depicts the specific tornado because the footage was posted to the Internet by a Springfield, MA television station on the anniversary of the tornado. http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/19669869.html



The name of the book on the tornado is "Tornado! 84 Minutes, 94 Lives" by John M. O'Toole (DataBooks, 1993). There was also a VHS tape available with the book.



Color photos of the aftermath by city assessor Howard Rourke were published by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. I believe these slides depict the specific tornado because they are reproduced by the local newspaper on the anniversary of the tornado. http://www.telegram.com/static/tornado/multimedia/slideshows/two/1.html



An extensive and detailed record of the period just before and after the tornado was written by Anthony (A.F.C.) Wallace, called "Tornado in Worcester: An Explanatory Study of Individual and Community Behavior in an Extreme Situations," published by the National Academy of Sciences (1956). I just happened to see it while walking through the stacks in a university library in Rochester, NY. It seems to be a groundbreaking study of its kind, and is often quoted by later disaster and sociological studies. (Don't worry; it's very vivid - too vivid - and not at all dry.)

 

Edited on 2009-03-07 09:30:24 by lchukhin

General Comment
2012-03-06 17:29:21
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ohai555
Posts:4
Rank: F0

Actually, my Grandmother and Grandfather were outside at an ice cream bar when this outburst spawned a F1 tornado that went down that street. She said that earlier on (10- 15 minutes before) two people came to the bar and told people that a tornado was going down Union street. When they told people that, everybody was in utter panic mode. When the storm [assed by, it made the bar and 1 house collape along with 1 person getting flung and having minor injuries.

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