1840: Deadly tornado strikes Natchez, Mississippi

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Natchez, Mississippi was a bustling and booming river town hard against the Mississippi River in 1840, it was 20 years after Mississippi joined the union and 20 years before the Civil War. But on May 7, 1840 the second deadliest tornado in U S history struck the city. A large and powerful tornado went right through the center of town, flattening most of the buildings. But even worse was the damage on the Mississippi River, which was filled with boats, including 120 flatboats and steamboats carrying people and goods along the main transport system in the part of the nation – the Mississippi River. The powerful tornado wrecked many boats at the Natchez Landing in Mississippi as well and then plowed through the city. The tornado killed 317 people and injured 109 others. The only storm on record this destructive to kill more than it injured. Many bodies were never found. The storm is still as of May 7, 2021, the second deadliest tornado on record. The actual death toll could be higher as enslaved persons were not counted.

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