On This Day

…Alabama’s Worst Tornado Day…a Look at the Great Storm of March 21, 1932…57 years ago…

March 20, 1932 dawned warm and springlike across Alabama. By afternoon, temperatures reached the 80s in most of the state.

It was a Sunday. The Birmingham News featured a front page story saluting the arrival of spring officially scheduled for 1:54 p.m. that same day.

Said the news, “Spring will bring thoughts of love to the young men and thoughts of new clothes to women.” They continued, “Baseball is in the air, new clothes are on the streets, Easter is only a week away and spring is on her throne.”

But disaster lurked in the wings.

And next day it hit…deadly tornadoes…the greatest catastrophe ever to hit Alabama.

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6 Responses to On This Day

  1. Sarthurk says:

    Fifty seven years ago was not 1932. Otherwise, I’d be three years older than my dad.

  2. Towser says:

    Considering you and are are about the same age, I sure hope 1932 wasn’t 57 years ago!

  3. Jeffery in Alabama says:

    Thanks for posting. I remember hearing “old timers” talk about that storm (my county joins Cullman) and comparing it to the April 3rd, 1974 outbreak that killed 77 in Alabama alone.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Super_Outbreak. As the author stated there was not any early warning systems, radar, television, few phones, etc. Radio stations were scarce as were radios. One consideration that came to my mind was the population density of the state which was just over 2.5 million in 1932. Fast forward to the super outbreak of 2011.
    Nearly everyone has a cellphone and is connected to some type of “weather alert” or social media, etc. Radar and forecasting technology are at a zenith, Almost every rural community and every town of any size has tornado sirens that are activated as the National Weather Service issues warnings. With the case of the EF5 that struck the Tuscaloosa area the destruction was broadcast in real-time as the monster passed north of Birmingham in Jefferson county. I can remember watching some live weather cam as the meteorologist from Channel 13 explained a Doppler radar inset that indicated over 200 mph. winds. It was mass destruction on a wholesale scale and nothing could be done to stop it. So, there was ample warning and everyone was talking about the approaching “bad weather” a day or so before the strike. The population of Alabama at that time was almost five million and still there was 252 killed in our state alone. What does all this prove? It proves that Alabama along with many other states)especially in the southeastern portion of our nation) can host some very dangerous storms. What can be done to up the odds of surviving this sort of dangerous weather? Stay informed, buy and monitor a weather radio, have an app on your cellphone that alert you to warnings, etc., have a “safe space” and plan to take shelter there before the bad weather arrives.

  4. Spin Drift says:

    And to think I moved from central Illinois to SE Alabama just after the F4 that clipped Morton and leveled Washington Il on 11/17/13. We had 6 tornado siren warnings down here last spring. I hope this year is a little quieter.

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