March 18, 1925, 695 killed
A nearly four-hour twister at 62 m.p.h. (100 k.p.h.) first touched down northwest of Ellington, Mo., and then set records for speed and path length as it etched 219 miles (352 km) of devastation at a width of three-quarters of a mile. The tornado flew through Illinois — destruction was the worst in the town of Gorham — and Indiana, wiping out a series of mining towns along the way. Included in the tragic death toll were hundreds of students either on their way home from school or in one of three school buildings locked in the tornado’s trap.
Next Natchez, Miss., 1840