March 21, 1932 was one of the deadliest days in Alabama history. On that day, 15 tornadoes struck the state, part of a tornado outbreak that spawned at least 36 tornadoes in not only Alabama, but also Mississippi, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina. At least 334 died overall, with Alabama having the most fatalities with 268 killed.
The first tornado to hit the state occurred in Green Hill in Lauderdale County. It was an F2 and a home and cotton gin were destroyed.
Next, an F3 swept through Marengo, Greene and Hale Counties, killing 3 and injuring 9. At least 15 homes were damaged or destroyed.
An F2 then touched down and went through Marengo and Perry Counties, killing 3 and injuring 12.
One of the deadliest Alabama tornadoes that day then hit the cities of Ralph, Tuscaloosa and Northport in Tuscaloosa County. One hundred homes were destroyed and at least 300 were damaged by this powerful F4 tornado. Thirty-seven people perished and there were at least 200 injured.
The next F4 tornado barreled through Cullman, Morgan and Marshall Counties. Cullman County bore the brunt of this tornado, with 74 homes demolished in the communities of Phelan, Bolti, Berlin and Fairview. There were 18 killed in Cullman County, with at least 100 injured.
The deadliest tornado in the state that day then went through Perry, Bibb, Chilton, Shelby and Coosa Counties. This F4 tornado killed 49 people and injured at least 150. It was on the ground for 60 miles.
In Shelby and Talladega Counties, another F4 tornado destroyed at least 40 homes in Columbiana and damaged 200. Fourteen were killed and 75 were injured.
Yet another F4 tornado then went through Perry, Chilton and Coosa Counties. Just west of Plantersville, 12 were killed and 19 died in the Stanton and Lomax communities. This tornado injured at least 200 and was on the ground for 50 miles.
An F2 tornado hit Hale and Perry Counties, killing one in Greensboro and injuring one.
Yet again Marengo, Hale and Perry Counties were hit. An F3 tornado killed 10 near the community of Laneville and injured 30.
A massive F4 tornado then struck Talladega County, where 41 were killed and at least 325 were injured. Six hundred homes were either damaged or destroyed in this tornado.
In Lawrence and Morgan Counties, an F2 tornado killed 4 and injured 10. Several small homes were destroyed in the community of Piney Grove.
An F3 tornado then hit Winston, Cullman and Morgan Counties, killing 8 and injuring 25.
Another F4 tornado swept through Talladega, Clay and Randolph Counties, killing 13 and injuring at least 160. Seventy-fives homes were destroyed as well as 110 buildings at area farms.
The last tornado to hit Alabama that day occurred in Morgan, Madison and Jackson Counties and continued on into Marion County, Tennessee. This F4 tornado killed at least 36 and injured at least 500.
While the memories of April 27, 2011 are still fresh on the minds of most Alabamians, we should not forget the outbreak of March 21, 1932. It is still the deadliest tornado outbreak on record in the state, with 268 deaths. The outbreak of 2011 had 255 fatalities.
For more information about the March 21, 1932 tornado outbreak, please visit:
Birmingham NWS tornado database