June 9, 1984: The tornado outbreak of 9 June 1984 is among the most important tornado events in Russia’s history because it was associated with substantial loss of life of 400 deaths, and contained one of two F4 tornadoes ever recorded for in that country. Very little information is available on a violent tornado outbreak that swept through areas north of Moscow in the summer of 1984. The Soviet Union had not yet disbanded and few details were leaked to the international media. The outbreak was the result of a series of violent supercell thunderstorms that travelled north-northeast at speeds greater than 50mph. Local newspapers reported that massive hailstones, some over 2lbs in weight, fell over the affected areas. 400 people were killed, with most of the fatalities likely the result of a single tornado that tore through the town of Ivanovo. A French research article describes how the tornado threw cars long distances, lifted a 350-ton operating crane and leveled “steel-reinforced” buildings. According to the same article, the Russians unofficially awarded the tornado an F4 rating, although some of the damage was indicative of F5 strength. Reports describe how the tornado scoured pavement from a highway and hurled a 120,000lb water tank several blocks. Satellite images at the time showed an impressive severe weather set up reminiscent of large outbreaks in tornado alley in the US. If the reports are all true, then the outbreak was an unprecedented event and astoundingly violent for an area generally accustomed to tornadoes only capable of inflicting F1 and F2 damage.
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