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The Great Tornado of 1918

May 21, 2013

Looking through some old pictures of my grandmother’s (Ethel Woodington), I noticed two of them taken after the tornado of May 21, 1918. Checking on this tornado with the National Weather Service archives, I learned that the tornado was among the worst to hit Grant County, WI where the Hopes and Woodingtons, Fralicks and Sturmers lived. The tornado was about 80 miles long and moved from northeast Iowa through southwest Wisconsin. It was an F4 tornado (with winds approaching 200 miles per hour) and left 8 people dead and 100 people injured as it raged through those 80 miles. While tornadoes are not uncommon in this region, this fierce of a storm is. Only one other F4 has been recorded in Grant County, WI over the years and that was on June 22, 1944.

According to the National Weather Service, Grant County was not hit as hard as those behind and ahead of it, with the storm seeming to have “lifted and reformed” over the area. Yet, the damage was significant . . .

May 21 1918 Tornado damage.

May 21 1918 Tornado damage in Grant County, Wisconsin.

Huff's Piano after the Tornado hit.

Huff’s Piano after the Tornado hit.

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