Record Tornado Streak to Continue

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By Stephen Gode on January 11, 2013, 4:12am Last modified: January 30, 2013, 4:05pm

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Water Vapor Imagery January 11, 2013, 2:15 UTC (9:15 pm EST, Jan. 10, 2010)

Update: On January 30, 2013, a tornado occurred in Adairsville, Georgia at about 11:19 EST this morning, which tragically killed at least one person in a mobile home park. There may need to be additional confirmation from the NWS surveying, but this seems to be very clear that this was a powerful tornado and that the streak came to an end. The record streak of about 220 days without any fatality due to tornadoes in the United States came to an end today. Dr. Jeff Masters' blog reports the end of the streak. Hopefully, we can start another streak again for no deaths due to tornadoes very soon and break this record again, even if we are gradually or will gradually increase the typical frequency of tornadoes the US experiences as the spring months approach. 

The new record is the longest continuous streak without any fatalities due to tornadoes in the United States.

The streak has extended to 200 days without a tornado death in the United States!

There was some conflicting information on the tornado streak by the The Weather Channel and Dr. Jeff Masters. NOAA states, "The longest consecutive day stretch with no tornado fatalities in the 1950-present (until recently) official record was 197 days between October 15th 1986 and February 28th 1987," but this only adds up to 136 days.

There have been other periods of over 190 day streaks without a tornado death. NOAA, states, "Longer periods without tornado fatalities have occurred prior to 1950, but inconsistent observing practices make comparisons to current data difficult."

The exact time of the deaths may certainly influence these streaks. The deadly tornado that last struck the United States hit Venus, Florida about 12:30 pm on Sunday, June 24, 2012.

From the last tornado death in the United States, a loving mother died, but saved her child by shielding her daughter from the flying debris.

According to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), there was 68 tornado deaths in 2012, which ranked 25th highest since 1950. The tornado death toll in 2012 was less than the annual average tornado death toll (91) from the period of 1950-2011. Even the tornado injuries in 2012 ranked only 43rd highest since 1950, which were 829. The total number of tornadoes in 2012 were 936, which ranked 25th highest since 1950. The last time before 2012 there have been less than a 1000 tornadoes in a year was in the year 2002, which had 934 tornadoes. Please note that these statistics are subject to revision by the SPC.

Tornado activity has been limited partly due to the intense and widespread drought affecting the Great Plains. Limited ground moisture and generally more persisting high pressure helped limit typical thunderstorm activity.  

Recently, there have been a few reports of tornadoes on January 9th and January 10th. The first tornado of the year of 2013 occurred in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana on January 9th as an EF1 tornado. As of now, I did not notice any deaths from the recent tornado reports.

In the coming days, any severe threat seems very low. So, the tornado streak should continue for a while longer, especially that we are near the minimum for tornado activity on average.

Hopefully, this streak continues forever, even if we have been really fortunate!

NOAA graph of U.S. Tornado Averages by Month between 1991-2010:

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Stephen Gode

Town: North Haven, CT  

Reporting for WXedge since September 2012.

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