Thanksgiving, a time when families come together to give thanks and indulge in hearty feasts, is typically synonymous with warmth, laughter, and cherished memories. However, Mother Nature doesn't always adhere to our holiday plans.
In the records of American history, Thanksgiving has occasionally found itself at the mercy of formidable storms, turning festive gatherings into tales of resilience.
Let's delve into the icy depths and turbulent winds that have disrupted the tranquility of this celebrated occasion.
Thanksgiving Day Tornado Outbreak of 1926
On Thanksgiving Day in 1926, a peculiar and devastating weather twist unfolded across the Southern United States. For six harrowing hours, 14 tornadoes swept through sections of the South, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
The day took an unusual turn in Arkansas as temperatures soared approximately 20 degrees higher than the seasonal norm. Morning temperatures in the 50s and 60s gave way to an afternoon warmth, with certain areas basking in temperatures reaching 70 degrees. The collision of a cold front with this unseasonable warmth set the stage for turbulent weather.
Tornadoes emerged as these contrasting turbulent weather systems collided. The consequences were dire—64 lives lost, with Portland, Arkansas, bearing the brunt with 53 fatalities and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, mourning the loss of 11 lives. Numerous others were injured.
The toll, both in lives and property, was significant, with an estimated $630,000 in damages—a sum that translates to over $10.8 million in today's terms. This outbreak still scraped in history, is one of the region's most damaging late-year tornado events.