Record 178 tornadoes from South storms
The storms caused 327 deaths, making it the 3rd deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S.
May 4th, 2011
05:45 PM ET

Record 178 tornadoes from South storms

At least 178 tornadoes were part of the severe weather that raked 14 states April 27-28, making it the largest tornado outbreak in U.S. history, the National Weather Service said Wednesday.

The number of twisters surpassed the previous record of 148 tornadoes April 3-4, 1974, the Weather Service said.

The April 27-28 outbreak caused 327 deaths, making it the 3rd deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history, behind outbreaks in 1925 and 1932, with 747 deaths and 332 deaths respectively.

People living in tornado-afflicted areas of the South are still sharing stories of personal loss and images of destroyed homes, fallen trees, and demolished neighborhoods with CNN iReport. Their stories dot the South in a map and timeline, as shown in CNN iReport’s Open Story, a collaborative method of telling the story of an event.

Josh Spurgin sat on the steps of his home in Higdon, Alabama, which sat in shambles a day after a tornado destroyed it. The 23-year-old lost almost everything. Many homes in his neighborhood are gone and some of his neighbors died in the tornado. Besides the support of his family and friends, he’s turned to humor for a bit of relief in this otherwise dark situation. He joked with funnyman Michael Ian Black and "Funny or Die" comedian Brian Lynch when they responded to his tweets about the storms.

When the town of Ringgold, Georgia, reopened its streets for a brief afternoon on May 1, resident Gail Murphy was blown away by the devastation. The mass destruction had happened just 6 miles from her home.

"The downtown area is very badly damaged along with the schools and lots of other homes and businesses. This has been unbelievable to witness with my own eyes and I thought I had pretty much seen it all," she said.

Do you live in the region and are you trying to move forward after the tornados? Share your story with CNN iReport.

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Filed under: iReport • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Nancy

    Help support the people of Alabama and the South by donating to one of the bona fide charities listed at this site:

    These people will need our help for months to come, let's NOT FORGET THEM!!

    May 4, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA23

      I feel absolutely terrible for these people, but why would donations be required? If you had a house, you would have home owner's insurance, which will cover the rebuilding of your home and the reacquistion of posessions, it also covers a place to stay if your home is uninhabitable. If you've lost loved ones, nothing can be done about that. If you've lost sentimental posessions, nothing can be done about that either. – If you're a renter, you should have had renter's insurance for your posessions. – It's absolutely terrible what's happened. But nothing here should require outside donations. People should have had insurance. And if they didn't, why the heck not?? It's not like you can be refused home owner's, renter's or auto insurance like you can be refused health insurance.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      @CA23 The simple fact is that MANY people, especially those of poor and working class families CANNOT AFFORD INSURANCE. Not even HEALTH insurance. Be thankful that you are able to do so, and a little more compassionate toward those who cannot.

      In addition, insurance does not, in most cases, cover REPLACEMENT of lost possessions. And I'm not just talking about sentimental things, I'm talking about replacement cost coverage of your home, your furnishings, your appliances, etc. Many policies only cover a PERCENTAGE of that cost. Again, please have some compassion before you start talking about things with which you are not familiar.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • RIALgal

      CA23 - should have and do have are two very different things. Even if people are covered by insurance it takes awhile for payment to be made. They still need a place to stay, clothes to wear, and food to eat. A lot of the people who were affected are very poor and probably did not have insurance. The right thing to do is help them without worrying if they "really need it."

      May 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • hawkechik

      Actually, a lot of the area hit in Birmingham was a poorer area besides being an old area. It's very possible that there were houses that had no insurance because the occupants could not afford it, and it would not have been required anyway if there was no mortgage on the home.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      @CA23 Wow! Are you that clueless? Even if people do have insurance it takes time. The compassionate thing to do is donate money to the Red Cross or similar organization so that they can supply people with immediate needs such as water, food, shelter, toilet paper, medicine, etc. Organizations such as the American Red Cross rely on donations of any size. Every dollar counts!! Someone has to pay for things that are needed NOW and not 3 months from now.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam's people like you that make me hate this country sometimes. Your phony concern for tornado victims followed by your hateful rant about how they shouldn't need outside help is disgusting. As others have noted here, not everyone has a perfect life like you do. Believe it or not, some people can't afford things like insurance. Furthermore, insurance doesn't cover ALL possessions. You food. You see, people need to eat food.

      Beyond that, I'm sure some people are now unemployed due to their places of business being destroyed. So, with no income, they are unable to buy things. Are you connecting the dots here?

      I pray that a major disaster destroys your home and upends your life...and I further hope that NO ONE does a THING for you.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve houston

      @CA23: Are you really going to look someone in the face who's lost their home, or worse, a loved one and say "Well, you should have had home owners insurance, too bad!" or "Well, I know funerals are expensive, but there is insurance for that." And what if a person owns their house outright? They don't have to carry insurance. I'm so tired of ppl saying "could-a, should-a, would-a" after events like this. Show a little human compassion and give because you want to help a fellow citizen in need.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      There is an easy solution: give poor people jobs with decent paychecks, and if necessary, provide home owner's insurance with the health plan. When governments and businesses get rid of jobs or pay the bottom wage, then in a disaster, people will not be able to rebuild or move. It is especially clueless now in the state of the economy to blame the poor for their troubles. Pony up some money, for God's sake. These are Americans in need. Be glad that Osama bin Laden is dead, but celebrate by helping other Americans.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MsTonja

    Marshall Law has been declared, didn't you know that!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      They have marshals out there now? Cool!
      Now, if you mean martial law, nope. It's a disaster area, but martial law was NOT declared, as ONLY the President of the United States of America can declare martial law, which he has not done. That is WHY the National Guard assists in these messes, under STATE authority.

      May 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • xyzc

      lol it seems like it buddy

      May 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chumlee(the real one)

    The Western Courier says 100 tickets were issued. It made no mention of students being beaten.

    Not that it has ANYTHING to do with this story.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tiffany

    Look I was one of the first one's to donate so shut up.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      It's great that you've donated, Tiffany, but I was posting the donation information for others who might not have. The people in that region are going to need help for a long, long time, having lost everything in a LOT of cases. I didn't mean to imply that no one was donating at all, just reminding others that the need will continue.

      May 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sanctified

    Wow your mature...
    People lost their home, cars and all their belongings.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lewis

    Way to generalize an entire region. You know they helped do a pretty amazing thing there a few decades ago (and continue to do some amazing things). See if you can figure it out. Hint: Moon.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*BLESSED

      I don't think its the end of the world.But I believe,the rapture has to happen first.

      May 6, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Banjo player

    You are a jerk to say that, people were killed and in response to that you choose to make a joke (that wasn't even funny) about the south? Shame on you.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grumpster

    Pretty short story for such a significant event. Unbelievable some of the pictures I've seen that CNN can't seem to find that every other souce can (like Weather Channel). So much for being legitimate news...again.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      Yes, I think that all the articles on Osama bin Laden should have a mention of helping other Americans after this disaster; CNN can go on tangents, and people should be thinking about their fellow Americans at a time like this. Every one of us could face a disaster at some point. My husband has cancer; I appreciate help from others, although we haven't needed financial (yet), I very much appreciate the kind words and other help. We are not immortal.

      May 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rebeccca



    May 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RIALgal

    Felipe and others who find humor in this tragic situation, please have a little compassion. You cannot imagine the devastation following these tornadoes. Whole towns are gone. People have lost everything they own. Tornadoes don't care who you are or what your station in life is. They destroy everything in their paths. I have seen it up close and personal and pray neither I nor anyone else sees it again.

    The good that comes out of it is that people are doing everything they can to help others. Total strangers are doing whatever they can to help those affected. Life will be a little different for a lot of people but life will go on.

    May 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Edgar Charles Wymore II of Iowa

    I feel bad for 'em. Although I've never been, seen, nor remember being in nor seeing a tornado but I've read about 'em. They're very terrible. So I hope that you'll help the people of the South.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Heather

    Sounds like you are the STUPID one...nothing shows up as Western Courier as you said. Since you have nothing nice to say maybe you should just keep your fat little fingers off the keyboard!!!!

    May 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bama Girl

    @FelipeBR. You know is you lived right here in Bama where it happened you wouldnt have your cute remarks!!! My house and family were spared but soo many others that I know have lost family members and everything they owned!!!
    You can make fun of Alabamians with you cute remarks, but if you were here to see what has been going on you would wish you were from here! Everyone has pulled together from neighbors to strangers and we ahev all become one big family. The amount of help is outstanding!!! Thanks for the prayers and help! God Bless

    May 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lork

    I think weather forecasters and computer model engineers will study this outbreak for a long time to some how predict when such a event will happen with even a greater degree of accuracy.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ALgal

    CA23 you must not understand the devestation our state went thru one week ago. There is no power no water. Some have no food no clothes no car no phone. Sure insurance will help but with thousands applying, I wonder how quick relief will come. Our situation can be compared to Katrina. For those that have made donations, we truely thank you. I personally know a family of five that parrished 27Apr. Please keep us in your prayers and it is great bin Laden is dead but so is 327 in the South and ten's of thousands pray you don't forget about us.

    May 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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