Why don’t tornadoes hit major cities such as Chicago, Detroit, or St. Louis?

Weather Blog

Dear Tom,

Why don’t tornadoes hit major cities such as Chicago, Detroit, or St. Louis?


Thanks, Rob Graf
Bartlett

Dear Rob,

Oh, but they do. On May 6, 1876, an F-3 twister swept from near 18th Street at the Chicago River to the current site of Navy Pier, killing two and injuring 35. On March 12, 1976, an F-2 twister killed two and injured 66 as it moved from Northlake to Wilmette, clipping far northwest Chicago near O’Hare. On April 21, 1967, the Oak Lawn tornado moved through Chicago’s South Side before exiting over the lake. On March 4, 1961, a twister caused major damage as it moved from 91st and Hoyne to the lakefront at 68th Street. Major tornadoes have struck numerous cities including Miami; Dallas-Fort Worth, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. St. Louis has been hit by a dozen F-4 twisters and the Detroit area was hard hit by 13 tornadoes on July 2, 1997, the strongest an F-3.

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