Share

5 Tornado Ghost Towns

Chris Dolce
Published: March 27, 2013

Manchester, South Dakota

Manchester Tornado Damage

Manchester Tornado Damage

NOAA

Image Credit: National Weather Service Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Manchester Tornado Damage
  • Manchester Tornado Damage
  • Manchester Tornado Damage
  • Manchester Tornado Damage
  • Manchester Aerial View
  • Manchester Tornado Path

When it comes to ghost towns, images of the Wild West, not tornado destruction, probably come to mind first. However, for a handful of towns devastated by tornadoes in the central United States, this term is appropriate.

Our Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes has compiled a list of so-called "tornado ghost towns" that no longer exist because of extreme tornado damage. For our first ghost town, we don't have to go far back in the history books.

On the evening of June 24, 2003, the town of Manchester, S.D. was leveled by a powerful F4 tornado. The tornado that moved through the small town was around a half mile wide! Amazingly, no fatalities were reported.

According to the 2000 census, the town only had a population of 109 before the tornado wiped out just about everything it its path. Afterwards, Manchester was never rebuilt and in 2007 a monument was dedicated in the former town.

The Manchester tornado was the strongest of 95 tornadoes that struck parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wyoming and Iowa in the outbreak. An incredible 66 tornadoes touched downed in South Dakota alone in eight hours.

For our next town, we head to the early 20th century in Missouri.


Featured Blogs

Death Valley ‘Sliding Rocks’ Mystery Resolved

By Christopher C. Burt
August 29, 2014

An article published in the science journal PLOS ONE on August 27th by scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has finally put to rest the mystery of the ‘sliding’ rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley.

The Tropics Go Quiet World-Wide

By Dr. Jeff Masters
August 29, 2014

Hurricane Cristobal ceased to be at 11 am EDT on Friday, as the storm completed its transition to a powerful extratropical storm. With Cristobal's transition to an extratropical storm and the demise of the Eastern Pacific's Tropical Storm Marie earlier today, there are now no named tropical cyclones anywhere in the world--an unusual situation for what is traditionally one of the busiest days of the Northern Hemisphere's tropical cyclone season.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.