|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
On the morning of February 19, 1884, a bitter cold front from the Arctic met a warm, humid air mass over the southeastern United States, triggering a historic tornado outbreak. The storms created by the unstable air triggered at least fifty tornadoes across ten states. The exact number of tornadoes and deaths caused by the storms has led to the name, the Enigma Outbreak.
Ten States and Hundreds of Deaths
The winter of 1884 had been rainy across most of the United States. Rivers flooded and the earth turned to soupy mud. February 19 dawned clear and warm. People reveled in the first nice weather in months. That revelry soon turned to horror as the terrible storms developed and dozens of tornadoes thundered across the land. Ten states, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia felt the ravages of the storms. The strongest outbreaks occurred in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Two struck in southwest Indiana, the most northern outbreak in the swarm. Death attributed to the storms range from 178 to over 1200. There were over fifty confirmed tornadoes, with many more suspected.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning