On this day in 1974, 148 deadly tornadoes wreaked devastation in over a dozen states, which experts later would call an “ominous sign” of global cooling.
Tony Heller, the editor at Real Climate Science, explains how on April 3, 1974, temperatures across much of the south soared past 90 degrees, with the rest above 80 degrees and Texas going over the 100-degree mark.
Then a massive cold front came crashing down from Canada and collided with the warm, moist air barreling northwards from the Gulf of Mexico.
Both were set to collide beneath a powerful jet stream whipping eastward at 40,000 feet with 140-mile-per-hour winds.
The combination of three powerful weather events led to the largest outbreak of tornadoes since recordkeeping began.
The tornadoes devastated 13 states and killed over 300 people with another 6,000 injured. Thousands of homes were flattened or destroyed.
What happened on that day was what meteorologists call a “super outbreak.”