Spring Cleaning--The 1925 Tri-State Tornado Painting by David Smith

"Spring Cleaning (The 1925 Tri-State Tornado)" (2008)
Oil on canvas (8" x 10")
(Notes: Occasionally I do renderings of historic tornadoes. This painting depicts the infamous Tri-State Tornado. The Tri-State Tornado of Wednesday, March 18, 1925, was the deadliest tornado in U.S. history. With 695 confirmed fatalities, the tornado killed more than twice as many as the second deadliest, the 1840 Great Natchez Tornado. The continuous 219-mile track left by the tornado was the longest ever recorded in the world: the tornado crossed from southeastern Missouri, through Southern Illinois, then into southwestern Indiana. This tornado also holds the record for the longest duration (3.5 hours) and fastest forward speed for a tornado anywhere on earth (73 mph). While not officially rated by NOAA, it is recognized by many as an F5 tornado, the maximal damage rating issued on the Fujita scale.

The following is a survivor's account of the tornado, published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 20, 1925: "All morning, before the tornado, it had rained. The day was dark and gloomy. The air was heavy. There was no wind. Then the drizzle increased. The heavens seemed to open, pouring down a flood. The day grew black. Then the air was filled with 10,000 things. Boards, poles, cans, garments, stoves, whole sides of the little frame houses, in some cases the houses themselves, were picked up and smashed to earth. And living beings, too. A baby was blown from its motherís arms. A cow, picked up by the wind, was hurled into the village restaurant.")


Texas Original

Designated a Texas Original by The Texas Commission on the Arts


Description text and images Copyright © 2001-2010 David Smith

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