2. STORMS 7 - 5

7. 1925 "Tri-State" Tornado

Date: 1925
Deaths: 695

It started as a thunderstorm in Missouri that began developing behind a cold front that moved down from Canada. The storm moved faster than the cold air mass, and finally overtook it, creating a funnel effect of wind movement with which we are all fearfully aware. Part of the problem was that it came on so suddenly, so that people were still rushing to basements and shelters even as the broken glass was raining down on their heads from the first gusts. The tornado tore across southern Illinois and into Indiana before it finally dissipated . . . 3 and a half hours later.

The F5 intensity storm was responsible for 695 deaths, 2027 injuries and a loss of property totaling $17 million dollars. That figure adjusted for inflation would total $159 million.

6. Hurricane Camille

Date: 1969
Deaths: 256

This time there was lots of warning. The newscasters on every television and radio station were pleading with residents to flee the area, but many stayed. To some it was a game, having lived on the Gulf Coast for years and having seen countless hurricanes. But this storm was to be like no other seen before. On August 23rd, 1969, Camille gusted winds over 200 mph and provided surges of water which submerged two story houses, eventually evacuating more than 150,000 residents. When it was all over, 256 people were dead and damages totaled $1.4 billion.

5. "Great New England" Hurricane

Date: 1938
Deaths: 700

It was almost unthinkable that a hurricane could have a landfall in the New England area, and weather forecasters of the time had plenty of warning that this storm was coming. But the weathermen remained convinced that the storm would veer off into sea and could never hit, say, Long Island. But hit it did, with a vengeance. Late season beach goers were caught totally by surprise that a category 3 hurricane was bearing down on them. At the last minute, when 100 mph winds blew the water and sand right in their faces, they got the message.

The human toll was 700 dead and another 700 injured. The economic toll was $306 million, which comes to $3.4 billion in today's dollars.