The 2009 Great Falls Tornado was a large and deadly tornado that hit Great Falls, Montana on June 28, 2009. The tornado destroyed a large portion of the city, and killed over 40 people. 95 others were injured. The tornado touched down around 5:40 PM in the afternoon, and reached it's peak strength at 5:57 PM. The storm dissipated around 6:10 PM. It was part of a mini-outbreak of severe weather that effected parts of Montana that day, and spawned 5 other tornadoes. It was considered the worst tornado in Montana history by many.
The storm system which produced the tornado developed as a large squall line over the western United states during the early afternoon. The line of storms spawned several tornadoes in California, Washington and Idaho. The Squall line began to break down into supercells as they entered far-western Montana. The storm which produced the Great fallls tornado began as a small rain storm which developed in a cluster gathered over Flathead national forest, and went through many stages as it moved across the area. At 5:20 PM, a small hook echo was detected by radar as it neared Great falls. 6 minutes later, at 5:26 PM, a trained spotter reported a funnel cloud while driving eastbound across Highway 89. between 5:35 and 5:40 PM, several local residents reported a large rotating wall cloud outside of town, and at 5:42 PM, The national weather service issued a tornado warning which read:
The national weather service has issued a tornado warning for cascade county in Montana until 6:30 PM at 5:37 PM trained storm spotters reported a funnel cloud. This dangerous storm was located about 5 miles west of Great Falls, moving east at 25 mph. The tornado will be near, Great falls by 5:55 PM. For your protection move indoors and stay away from windows. please report tornadoes to the national weather service.
From there, things only got worse. The tornado touched down 3 minutes later. A large cloud of dust developed at the bottom of the tornado. The storm entered great falls at 5:58 PM, near it's peak strength. The tornado was then seen from the United states postal service at 6:00 PM, and a picture was uploaded on twitter which showed several large trucks being juggled up into the air. The tornado struck the building 2 minutes later, and ripped of the roof. The tornado then dashed through the downtown area completely destroying buildings. The tornado briefly weakened to EF2 strength as it moved toward the suburbs. Several residents went outside their homes to get pictures of the tornado. Resident Howard Martin, a retired storm chaser and for the national weather service, saw the tornado from his front porch, and was not able to make it to his basement when the tornado hit. His house was ripped from it's foundation, and ripped to pieces. He was lifted by the tornado and thrown nearly 20 yards away. His body was found in an open field by a local police officer, and was airlifted to a local hospital. He suffered from a broken tailbone, spine, and a fractured skull. He gets around in a wheelchair to this day, and suffers from his injuries every day. He encourages you to stay safe from tornadoes, and does not you to end up like him. The tornado then became a small rope shaped tornado, and caused a narrow swath of downed trees. The tornado dissipated at around 6:10 PM.
The tornado caused major damage throughout the city. Over 100 buildings were destroyed, and over 40 people were killed. This was the strongest and deadliest tornado in Montana history. It was also the strongest single tornado of 2009.
|Notable individual tornadoes|
|2019 Prescott, Arkansas tornado • 2020 Anderson, Indiana tornado • 2023 Dallas, Texas tornado • 2023 Flemington, New Jersey tornado • 2023 Steinbach, Manitoba tornado • 2024 Slater, Missouri tornado • 2024 Liberal, Kansas tornado • 2024 Woodward, Oklahoma tornado • 2024 Attica-Harper, Kansas tornado • 2024 Canadian County, Oklahoma tornado • 2024 Blanchard-Newcastle-Moore, Oklahoma tornado • 2024 Helena-Lamont, Oklahoma tornado • 2026 Sabetha, Kansas tornado • 2028 Wichita-Park City, Kansas tornado • 2031 Belleville, Ontario tornado • 2034 Florissant, Missouri tornado • 2034 Taylorsville, Kentucky tornado • 2034 Watseka, Illinois tornado • 2035 Cicero, Indiana tornado • 2037 Winfield, Alabama tornado • 2037 Thaxton, Mississippi tornado • 2037 Mobile, Alabama tornado • 2037 Huntsville, Alabama tornado • 2037 Covington, Georgia tornado • 2038 Abbeville-New Iberia, Louisiana tornado|