Tornado Index # 19850531.42.17

 
 
 

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

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 #
1985-05-3118:10:00 33912024339$5M-$50M-40.82 / -80.4740.72 / -79.73356
Affected StatesAffected Counties
Pennsylvania Beaver, Butler
User Comments   (6)      
General Comment
2007-12-23 08:42:28
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Jordan the Madman P
Posts:1
Rank: F0

My family was affected by this Tornado south of Saxonburg the Tornado was described as a Wedge or Multiple Vortex Structure with a Whitetop and Black bottom. I'm supprised this Tornado wasn't F4 or F5 becasuse their were Homes swept away along Knoch Rd with some cars thrown into near by Corn Fields up 1/2 Mile away. Debris was thrown the whole way north towards Hannahstown Rd about 2 Miles north of the Path. This tornado was similer to The Ash Vally Tornado of the 1970s exept it was not as tall as other one but it look similer in size. Rt 8 had damage with Home swept away near Conleys Resort area. The NOAA records said the width was 730 Wide but when It was near Saxonburg it was up 1/2 Mile Wide based on my friends and familys records. Homes Swept Way, Trailer parks flattend, Homes with no foundation left. Based on news accounts it was rated F5 and downgraded.

General Comment
2010-12-13 10:37:43
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Stormcsr
Posts:8
Rank: F0

I heard that too. I heard that the damage done from this particular tornado went beyond the scale. My area was affected by this same tornado beforehand when it was in Beaver County. The tornado passed less than a mile away from my neighborhood. 

General Comment  Tornado Photo
2010-12-13 11:06:42
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Stormcsr
Posts:8
Rank: F0

Here is the link to a blog that I wrote earlier this year about the outbreak...http://stormcsr.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/may-31-1985-tornado-outbreak-twenty-five-years-later/   Also, here is coverage from the local newspaper right after it happened...http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=QLZAdv6BrvsC&dat=19850602&printsec=frontpage  If you look far enough into the paper, you will come across a couple pictures of the actual Beaver County F3 tornado. 

General Comment
2010-12-13 11:46:40
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Stormcsr
Posts:8
Rank: F0

I strongly believe that this tornado's track on the map is inaccurate, at least through Beaver County. The tornado's track through Beaver County is a little farther south than what is shown on the map. 

General Comment
2010-12-13 11:54:59
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Stormcsr
Posts:8
Rank: F0

It was exactly 8:19 PM when the tornado struck the Big Beaver Plaza along PA Route 18. My uncle had an encounter with the tornado there at the plaza, and it was miraculous that he escaped without major injury. 

General Comment
2015-06-14 21:29:41
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vjohnyboy
Posts:1
Rank: F0

ok was just a kid then. but was within 1/4 mile of this. and heard over the yrs alot of pretty good evidence it was just f3. but the path was wide do to some small tornados that spond off the the main. on farmer watch it go thru his cattle field and went into 3 small tornados then back to one large tornado. ripped the siding off our home and i watch it destroy neighbors home.


 

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