Hypothetical Tornadoes Wiki

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Hypothetical Tornadoes Wiki
Hypothetical Tornadoes Wiki

The Lancaster-Colfax Tornado at peak strength.

The 1977 Storm of the Century Was a destructive tornado outbreak that hit areas in western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and Northern West Virginia. The tornado outbreak is best known for producing an F5 tornado that caused a total meltdown of reactor #1 At The Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station, which forced an evacuation of all of Pittsburgh and other cities.

Meteorological synopsis

A powerful late-spring low pressure system developed across much of the Midwest on May 20th. While moving East, a surge of very moist air intensified the system further while there was sharp temperature contrasts between both sides of the system. NOAA and NWS officials were predicting a severe weather outbreak on May 23, but the prediction was nowhere near the magnitude of the actual event. By May 23, severe weather watches were being issued for parts of the Eastern US and the Ohio valley.


By 1:00 PM EST, several cells were confirmed on radar, with rotation being reported in some cells. The first tornado touched down at 1:42 PM near Lancaster, Ohio, dissipating over a farm at 2:14 PM.

The system tracked east, dropping tornadoes across Ohio and West Virginia. The system seemed to intensify as it entered Pennsylvania, dropping 4 F3 Tornadoes and 2 F4 tornadoes. A cell with very strong rotation entered Beaver County, Dropping a tornado over the County Line. The tornado rapidly intensified from a weak rope tornado to a half-mile wide F5 Wedge. It wiped a neighborhood clean, killing 23. The Tornado directly hit Beaver Valley Nuclear, Extremely Damaging Reactor #1 Before dissipating. The tornado spread Radiation very quickly, forcing an Evacuation of all cities in a 75 Mile Radius to be Evacuated. The system weakened as it entered The East Coast states, and the system dissipated over the Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of May 24.


15 reports of tornadoes were received, with a total of 11 confirmed.

11 3 1 1 2 3 1

List of confirmed tornadoes - Monday, May 23, 1977
F# Location County Time (EST) Path length Max width Summary
F4 2.2 SW of Lancaster to 1.4 SW of Rushville Fairfield 1:42 - 2:14 PM 8.7 Miles .54 Miles 21 Deaths - See section on this tornado
F0 .7 Miles SW of Nelsonville to 2.3 Miles SW Of Butchel Athens 1:58 - 2:01 PM .8 Miles 42 Feet Brief Tornado caused minimal damage to subdivisions in Nelsonville.
F0 Oak Hill Jackson 2:12 - 2:14 PM .6 Miles 36 Feet Brief Tornado caused minor damage to a library.
F1 .3 Miles SW Of Rutland to 3.4 Miles SW of Wolfpen Meigs 2:24-2:27 PM 1.1 Miles .10 Miles F1 Tornado caused slight damage to main street in Rutland. 2 People were injured.
West Virginia
F2 1.8 Miles SW of Spencer to 6.2 Miles SW of Rocksdale Roane 2:43-2:49 PM 3.9 Miles .21 Miles 3 Deaths - A Large F2 Tornado Severely damaged parts of West Spencer. The Tornado killed 3 People when a restaurant collapsed onto people riding out the storm. In addition, the tornado injured 12 people.
F4 1.7 Miles SW Of Morgantown to .6 Miles SW of Morgantown Municipal Airport Monongalia 2:56-3:04 PM 3.2 Miles .43 Miles 13 Deaths - See section on this Tornado
F0 .5 Miles SW of Hermitage to 3.6 Miles SW of Clark Mercer 3:12 - 3:14 PM .73 Miles 33 Feet A fast moving tornado caused minimal damage to houses East of Hermitage.
F3 1.1 Miles SW of New Castle to 6.5 Miles SW of Volant Lawrence 3:23-3:27 PM 3.6 Miles .18 Miles 6 Deaths - A fast moving wedge caused severe damage to a subdivision, killing 6 and injuring 32.
F5 .2 Miles E of Hookstown to .9 Miles SW of Vanport Beaver 3:33 - 3:46 PM 6.3 Miles 1.3 Miles 28 Deaths (+220 Indirect) - See Section on this tornado
F4 4.6 Miles SW of Indiana to 1.5 miles E of Dixonville Indiana 3:57 - 4:12 PM 13.3 Miles .8 Miles 4 Deaths - Large F4 destroyed multiple homes in the city of Indiana. 1 person was killed when their car was thrown off a freeway. 3 more were killed when the tornado hit a Subdivision.
F3 .8 Miles SW of Curwensville to .3 Miles SW of Hyde Clearfield 4:32 - 4:40 P,M 4.2 Miles 80 Yards Thin EF3 caused severe damage in the borough of Curwensville.

Notable Tornadoes