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Twin tornadoes of the Goshen, Indiana tornado family during the Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak of 11 April 1965

Often mistaken for single long track tornadoes, a tornado family is a series of tornadoes which occur along a similar path. Spawned by the same supercell, these families can cover a short span or a vast distance. Sometimes evidenced by breaks in the damage path, expert analysis is necessary to determine whether or not damage was created by a family or a single tornado. In some cases, different tornadoes of a tornado family merge, making discerning whether an event was continuous or not even more difficult.

Some tornado damage remains a mystery even today due to a lack of evidence. The Tri-State Tornado was one such tornado. It could either have been the longest single tornado recorded, or a family of tornadoes. New, ongoing reanalysis indicates that it was one continuous tornado[1], however, many other very long track tornado events were later found to be tornado families, notably the Woodward, Oklahoma tornado family of April 1947 and the Charleston-Mattoon, Illinois tornado family of May 1917.


  • The Tornado Project (1999). The Tornado Project's Terrific, Timeless and Sometimes Trivial Truths about Those Terrifying Twirling Twisters!

See also


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