Tornadoes in DeSoto County, Mississippi in 1988

 
 
 

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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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Summary   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.

Date(s) (yyyy-mm-dd)TornadoesFatalitiesHighest FatalitiesInjuriesHighest InjuriesLongest PathWidest Path
1988-01-19 - 1988-01-1910 people0 people1 person1 person9.5 miles70 yards
User Comments   (1)      
General Comment
2017-10-24 03:09:26
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KevinRoy
Posts:1
Rank: F0

I rember the tornado on January 19,1988 like it was yesterday.  I was attending North Mississippi Comunity College at the time, and came home from morning classes and got to the entrance to Amy Dr. at Nail Rd. at close to 12:30 pm. I turned in and saw a lady I knew standing beside a county sheriffs car that I knew.  I rolled the window down on the car, as I looked down the street I could see the power lines down and a lot of debree on the road, I asked ," did a tornado come through here" the officer replied yes, I got on the gas pedal speeding away never saying another word.  I believe the lady told the officer that I lived on down the street because she did not come after me. I saw trees torn up and blown around and one house in the neighborhood was almost competly turned into a pile of rubble. The plywood on the roofs of several houses gleamed due to the shingles being blown off.  I was in fear that our house was going to have damage, but as I got to where I could see it and the lot, it had no damage of any kind.  This tornado blew around 12 rail cars that were hauling 24 semi truck trailers, off the track, and a few of the trailers broke open leaving the new goods exposed to the weather and people. My dad and I were the first people to walk the railroad track and see the damage. I found a silver looking coin or token that had the Mardi gras festival 1988 stamped on it, and I still have it at this time.  The trailers contained stock for retail stores and was a mix of everything except food items. Later on around 5 pm UPS had brought workers and more trailers to transfer the freight into, and they would pay anyone that wanted to help transfer the freight out of the trailers into the ones that they had brought. The house that was destroyed was around 800 feet east of my parents house. Four other houses just had roof shingles blown off, and debree scattered every where. The house just west of the one destroyed had little damage, but their storage shed was gone.  The storage shed was a wood frame building with tin painted red, covering the outside.  The red tin was hanging in the trees along the path of the tornado for two miles. No one was injured or killed, all of the people that lived in the neighborhood were just in shock of what had happened. I thought it was kinda funny, my dad was at home talking to my mother who was at work over the phone.  He told my mom that it sounded like a tornado and that the windows were rattling. My mom laughed at my dad, thinking he was just being paranoid. When I cam into the house, I saw my dad sitting in the recliner and he had no idea of what had happened. The telephone worked, but the power was out for the rest of that day.  Thinking back to that day, it was eerie going and looking at all of the damage to the houses and the railroad cars before anyone else had a chance to look at it. I told that sheriffs officer,"did a tornado come through here?", that sounds so stupid now. Everyone recovered from the tornado and went on living with a lot of appreation that no one was injured or killed.  The railroad runs North and South parallel to Hwy 51 and Interstate 55.


 

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