A long-duration, major severe weather outbreak struck the central & southern Plains to the Mississippi Valley to as far northeast as Michigan April 10-12, 1979.
Long called “Terrible Tuesday”, as violent tornado leveled part of Wichita Falls, Texas on April 10. This was only 15 years after a significant tornado hit nearby April 3, 1964. 1979 was noteworthy for some violent tornadoes striking larger communities. An unusual, violent, New England tornado, an F4, struck Windsor Locks, Connecticut October 3.
60 tornadoes were confirmed from the National Weather Service from the outbreak with extensive wind damage & numerous large hail reports.
24 tornadoes occurred April 10 with two significant long-track F4’s & two F3’s Texas & Oklahoma. 33 tornadoes were confirmed April 11. The strongest was an F3 in Missouri, while 3 tornadoes occurred April 12.
730p-1214a, severe weather struck the Tri-State. Most of the wind damage & the two F2 tornadoes occurred 730-915p from supercells, while the main band/line produced a wind gust of 61 mph at Evansville Regional Airport at 1214a.
An F2 tornado touched down on the Cumberland River, north of I-24, northwest of Eddyville, Kentucky & raced northeastward. It crossed KY 120, 109, 270 southeast of Clay, then crossed KY 132, 983 & 41A near Dixon. Tornado then continued northeastward, crossing KY 56 southeast of Poole, narrowly missed Robards as it crossed KY 483, then 283 & U.S. 41 (near Niagara Elementary School), then lifted off KY 520 & Barren Church Road South in rural southeastern Henderson County. Track as 36 miles with a width of up to 600′. 5 people were injured.
The second F2 tornado, likely spawned by the same supercell, touched down just southeast of Epworth & West Telephone Road (East of I-69/Morgan Avenue interchange). Tornado crossed Bell Road, West Jenner Road, then IN 261 near West Hunter Road southwest of Boonville. Tornado continued northeastward, crossed South Center Road, then crossed IN 261 again, passed over the southeast side Quail Crossing Golf Course & passed over the southeast edge of the Boonville Airport. Crossing IN 62 near North Eskew Road, tornado continued with a passage over IN 61 at West Sunset Drive before lifting at Rolling Acres northwest of Scale Lake County Park. 1 person was killed in a trailer park in Warrick County & 2 people were injured.
Trees & limbs were blown down in Dale & large amounts of straight-line wind damage were reported in Union & Henderson counties. Wind gusted to hurricane force, 75 mph, at the Owensboro-Daviess County Airport.
These were the supercells that would congeal & affect the Tri-State……this is the Little Rock radar showing the storms racing northeastward toward southeastern Missouri & western Kentucky: