40TH Anniversary of the Tornado Super-Outbreak - April 3-4, 1974

I remember the night well, it was a Wednesday evening - April 3, 1974. Just 19 years old and going to college, I had worked the previous summer at the National Weather Service Detroit /DTW/ and was on the doorstep of my career. I had arrived home, anxious to put on my NOAA NWR (of course at time, there was no internet, no TWC - just local news which paled in comparison to today's local news stations). Our "new" NOAA Weather Radio /NWR/ was blasting the risk of severe weather along with radar summaries that were updated just once an hour. As the northern end of the severe storm complex approached; severe weather warnings were read over the NWR - KEC-63 Detroit - for the southeast corner of Lower Michigan. While extreme south-central and southeast lower Michigan was clipped by severe weather and tornadoes, by far the main show was to our south (see map) as all hell broke lose.


An excellent account of the Super-Outbreak can be found on Nashville's NWS site. Also, check out the re-analysis of the monstrous synoptic storm and severe weather event; Revisiting the 3–4 April 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes - STEPHEN CORFIDI AND STEVEN WEISS at the NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Oklahoma. I had the pleasure of working with Steve Weiss at the WSFO-DTW in 1974 during our early days in the NWS.

Making weather fun while we all learn,
Bill Deedler -SEMI_WeatherHistorian


  1. I want to to thank you for this excellent read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new things you post…

  2. Bill, I was 8 years old, and had just gotten my first weather radio where I was able to monitor the warnings, etc!