1969 Hazlehurst, Mississippi, tornadoes

A destructive series of three tornadoes hit Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee on January 23, 1969. This worst tornado was a violent F4 twister that devastated Hazlehurst, Mississippi and caused 32 fatalities.[1]

1969 Hazlehurst, Mississippi tornadoes
TypeTornado outbreak
DurationJanuary 23, 1969
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Duration of
tornado outbreak2
13 hours, 20 minutes
Fatalities32 fatalities, 241 injuries
Areas affectedMississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee

1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale
2Time from first tornado to last tornado

Confirmed tornadoesEdit

Confirmed tornadoes by Fujita rating
FU F0 F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 Total
0 0 1 1 0 1 0 3
List of confirmed tornadoes – Thursday, January 23, 1969[nb 1][nb 2]
F# Location County / Parish State Start Coord. Time (UTC) Path length Max width Summary
F4 SSE of Fayette to SW of Newton Jefferson, Copiah, Simpson, Rankin, Smith, Scott, Newton MS 31°41′N 91°03′W / 31.68°N 91.05°W / 31.68; -91.05 (Fayette (January 23, F4)) 11:25–13:00 117.8 mi (189.6 km) 200 yd (180 m) 32 deaths – See section on this tornado – 241 people were injured.[3]
F1 WNW of Cerulean Caldwell KY 37°00′N 87°50′W / 37°N 87.83°W / 37; -87.83 (Cerulean (January 23, F1)) 22:00–? 0.1 mi (0.16 km) 50 yd (46 m) Weak, but destructive tornado destroyed a barn, tore the roof off of an outbuilding, and uprooted several trees.[3]
F2 W of Dover Stewart TN 37°00′N 87°50′W / 37°N 87.83°W / 37; -87.83 (Cerulean (January 23, F2)) 22:05–? 0.1 mi (0.16 km) 10 yd (9.1 m) Five homes and a tobacco barn were destroyed by this brief, but strong tornado. The tornado caused at least $75,000 (1969 USD) in damage.[3]

Hazlehurst, MississippiEdit

Hazlehurst, Mississippi
F4 tornado
Max. rating1F4 tornado
Fatalities32 fatalities, 241 injuries
1Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita scale

At 4:19 a.m. (CST), radar indicated a strong thunderstorm cell strengthening rapidly southeast of Jonesville, Louisiana in Concordia Parish. A tornado soon occurred in Jefferson County, Mississippi, south-southeast of Fayette, where some damage was reported. The tornado mainly traveled through sparsely populated areas, excluding the Hazlehurst area. Mainly trees were either debarked or uprooted, but structures in Hazlehurst sustained extensive damage. Several parts of the path were widened, with the widest part being about 0.5 mi (880 yd) wide. At another point, the tornado caused ground scouring and downed trees in all directions. Most of the structural damage occurred to outbuildings and farm buildings. The tornado was first noted near the Hazlehurst area at 5:45 a.m. (CST). A number of families in Hazlehurst lived on a hill near a lumber pond. The tornado dumped 18 people into the pond, of which all became missing. Afterwards, the pond was drained to try recovering the missing bodies. In Shady Grove, several buildings were destroyed. In Copiah County, 11 people were killed and 140 people were injured. The tornado caused $900,000 (1969 USD) in Copiah County. A family in Simpson County lied down on the floor and were not injured. A bus was parked in front of the home, and its body was blown away. South of Harrisville, a log house was reduced to rubble. Throughout the rest of the path (until the city of Puckett), 12 people were found dead. A family near Puckett were trying to escape the tornado, but their car wouldn't start. Instead, they jumped into a ditch and survived as their three-bedroom home was lifted off of its foundation. One of the family members was seriously injured by a falling limb. The tornado also lifted a tenant house into the air. A hog barn was also destroyed, which resulted in the fatalities of four hogs, of which 800 were in there. The tornado caused minor damage to trees before dissipating near Newton. Overall, 32 people were killed and 241 were injured.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ All dates are based on the local time zone where the tornado touched down; however, all times are in Coordinated Universal Time for consistency.
  2. ^ Prior to 1994, only the average widths of tornado paths were officially listed.[2]


  1. ^ "Tornadoes on January 23, 1969". tornadohistoryproject.com. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Brooks, Harold E. (April 2004). "On the Relationship of Tornado Path Length and Width to Intensity". Weather and Forecasting. Boston: American Meteorological Society. 19 (2): 310. Bibcode:2004WtFor..19..310B. doi:10.1175/1520-0434(2004)019<0310:OTROTP>2.0.CO;2. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "January 23, 1969 Tornadoes". Tornado History Project. Storm Prediction Center. Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Hazlehurst, MS F4 Tornado – January 23, 1969 – Tornado Talk".