Montana tornado history documented online


A look into Montana's tornado history (05/21/13)

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The EF5 tornado that recently hit Moore, Oklahoma, was one of only 58 to hit the United States since 1950. That's according to TornadoHistoryProject.com, a website that offers a searchable database of twisters to hit the U.S. since 1950.

NBC Montana took a look at the tornado history in Montana, to see what our state has been hit with. We found Montana has seen a total of 389 tornadoes since 1950, killing four people and costing the state millions worth of damages.

It wasn't long ago that a twister tore through the MetraPark in Billings, but most of the tornadoes that have hit the Treasure State have made far less of an impact.

We found a map of all 389 twisters to hit the state since 1950. Each marker included the date, time and severity of the tornado. The worst we've seen is an F3 -- listed as severe, with winds of up to 206 miles per hour and able to uproot trees. There were five of them in all.

The longest path of a Montana twister was 55 miles in 1952, the widest was 1,320 in 1953. That one was an F2, with winds of between 113 and 157 miles an hour and capable of tearing roofs from houses.

From there, we counted 11 in Beaverhead County, four in Gallatin County, three in Flathead, Ravalli and Lake counties and two in Park, Madison, Missoula and Glacier counties.

We also checked on cost of damages. Many of the tornadoes were less than F1 and didn't cause enough damage to report. Other twisters racked up between $500,000 and $5 million worth of damage.

The most costly Montana twister happened in 2010 in Park County, with a bill of over $32 million.

With the Tornado History Project website, you also have the ability to pinpoint crop loss, as well as the exact time of the tornado. In some cases, several severe twisters that hit on the same day, just moments apart.

Click here to check out the Tornado History Project website.

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