While deadly tornadoes have stuck much of America's heartland and the south, it is little remembered that one of the nation's biggest killer tornado struck West Virginia in 1944, a rare event for the Mountain State.

A tornado struck Wood and Wirt counties in 2011, causing a loss in life, with an increased number reported annually in the Mountain State.

Still, most of WV is a safe haven from most natural disasters, except flooding, but most have had time to hit the hill.

NWS CONFIRMS PALESTINE TORNADO AT 100 MPH - Burning Springs Swathe Declared High Wind(09/18/2010)

The brunt of the historic tornado hit Shinnston in Harrison County on June 23, 1944, with 153 lives lost, 103 in West Virginia, the remainder in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Only nine miles away was the Monongah mine where in 1907 some 350 persons lost their lives, the greatest mine disaster in history.

Observers said a great black funnel-shaped cloud appeared, traveling about 40 miles an hour, with most residents thinking it was some kind of fire.

It cut a swath 500 to 1000 feet wide.

The tornado also skipped through Flemington, Meadowsville, Montrose, and Thomas, cutting a path 500 to 1,000 feet in width.

Accounts say 846 persons were seriously injured, 1,686 families affected, 404 homes destroyed, and 821 buildings damaged.

Writer Kyle McCormick wrote about those unbelievable things that happen with tornadoes, including bonds, checks and papers from Shinnston were found some 150 to 200 miles away in Moorefield, West Virginia and Staunton, Virginia.

A barn was blown away, leaving the horse in the stall uninjured, but a two-by-four beam blew straight through a cow in the field.

A pig pen disappeared leaving the pigs. Hailstones were described big as baseballs.

Nine persons were killed in the home of Charles Carlin on Peoria Hill at Shinnston.

A garage was carried away at Meadowville, the car inside undamaged.

Streetcar tracks were twisted as though made of macaroni, and a cook stove was found three miles away from its former home.

A box containing $750 in bonds and valuables was carried miles away but returned to its owner.

The home of Paul Cox, Shinn's Run, skidded 1,000 feet then was borne through the air for 175 feet. His wife and two children died.