Tornado Index # 19560601.25.4


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Note: Approximate path data is not available for this tornado.

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 #
1956-06-0115:40:00 31014100.1$5K-$50K-42.63 / -71.8- / -249
Affected StatesAffected Counties
Massachusetts Worcester
User Comments   (1)      
General Comment
2007-04-13 21:04:43
Click to report this post as inappropriate or spam, report a dead link, etc...
bill chittick
Rank: F0

I was age 5 & saw the funnel distinctly. It occurred at circus in extreme SE part of Fitchburg, appx 200 yds SE of intersection Benson St/Airport Rd (field later became site of the Asher Slacks plant). The funnel struck the circus tent, causing it to balloon up & create all the ensuing havoc & injuries. That afternoon was hot & sunny when we arrived; midway thru I had 2 use the WC so went outside to the portajohns - couldnt believe the difference in the sky! ominous metallic gray as far as the eye could see. I had a big pit in my stomach & knew we were in for a violent thunderstorm within minutes. I ran back in & told my friend's parents we should leave immediately, that we were going to be caught outside in a severe thunder/lightning storm any second! They said "relax, it's nice out" & I said "not any more!" Almost immediately came PA announcement that a tornado had been sighted over Leominster & that everyone should evacuate the tent asap! There was pandemonium. When we got outside, we ran from the tent as fast as we could as the wind started whipping everything around & dust was flying. This was when I looked at the sky & noted 3rd change: instead of solid metallic thunderstorm gray, it was now contrast w/dark gray above & to E, & milky white above & to W (could actually catch glipmses of sun at juncture, much as when you see sun poking thru fog). At the juncture dark clouds were boiling & there was a "finger" descending. As funnel approached 2/3 way down, it broke off near top, causing lower portion to dissipate after few seconds. Then a new funnel would immediately appear in same spot; scenario repeated 4 or 5 times over course of a minute but each "new" funnel was in EXACT same trajectory as its predecessor. In hindsight it was dust/condensation causing "now u see it now u don't" fluctuation in appearance. Lucky to escape when we did because tent ballooned up & was destroyed; a stake hit the person whose hand I was holding. Some hail, but sunny/dry in 5 mins.

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