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    Tornado - Bridgetown, Ohio


    Photographer's description not available.

    Photographer Frank Altenau
    Date taken April 3, 1974
    Location Bridgetown, OH (Hamilton County)     map
    Event Tornado

    Additional notes
    This tornado was one of many to affect the Ohio Valley during the 1974 Super Outbreak.  It reached F5 intensity in Salyer Park, killing 3 people and injuring 210 others west of Cincinnati. It was the most photographed tornado of the Super Outbreak.

    This photo was taken at the beginning of the tornado's rope stage, which is often a sign that a tornado is about to weaken and dissipate.  This is seen here by the debris cloud being displaced well away from where the tornado is attached to the storm base, and a thinning of the funnel.  Photographs indicate that this tornado dissipated moments later.  Though a tornado is usually weakening at this point, damage is still likely.  Be aware that a thinning tornado does not always mean it is getting weaker - sometimes this may mean it's strengthening (think of the ice skater effect).

    Related NWS Product: Tornado Warning

    Safety Note: If you see a tornado on the ground, take cover immediately!  Taking photos or video in this situation is very dangerous, and you are losing vital time to protect yourself.  Even if the tornado appears to be moving away from you, nearby downdrafts and inflow can strike without notice, and can reach speeds in excess of 80 mph.  These strong winds are often blowing toward the tornado, and may drag objects into the tornado itself.

    Be aware that clearly visible tornadoes such as this one are uncommon in the Ohio Valley.  Many (if not most) tornadoes in this part of the country are rain-wrapped and are difficult or impossible to see.  If a tornado warning is issued, do not stand outside expecting to see a tornado.  You need to be taking shelter.

    Storm Spotters: How to report this?
    Learn more about the 1974 Super Outbreak

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