When 3 Twisters Devasted Hannibal & Palmyra in the 1940’s
We have been fortunate to not have many strong tornadoes do much damage in northeast Missouri the past few years. However, there is quite a history of twisters that have devasted the area including 3 that occurred in the 1940's that went through Hannibal and Palmyra.
I found this interesting history on the National Weather Service website for Marion County. It's a list of notable tornadoes that have affected the area. There were 3 in particular in the 1940's that reportedly did a lot of damage in Hannibal and Palmyra.
April 12, 1945, there were a series of tornadoes that caused massive damage in Palmyra including one huge 400 yard wide twister that tore apart 100 buildings in northwest Palmyra. It struck around 10pm that night. Earlier that night around 8:15p, there were tornadoes and downbursts that are said to have done almost a half million dollars worth of damage in Palmyra.
Four years later, it would be Hannibal that would see an unexpected December tornado go right through much of the downtown area. In the overnight hours of December 11, 1949 at around 12:25am, a tornado formed 4 miles southwest of Hannibal. The tornado was described as being around 70 yards wide when it was at its strongest. The National Weather Service said "damage totaled $200,000 in a 20-block area of Hannibal with a few homes completely unroofed. Twelve people were injured along the tornado's path."
There are press photos that show workers digging through rubble in downtown Hannibal. It's a reminder that no matter what month it is in northeastern Missouri, there's always the chance that nature will deal an unexpected wind event. Thankfully, this memory has not been repeated at quite this level in Hannibal in over 70 years.