One good thing we can attribute to the unusually cold weather over the last several months across the eastern two-thirds of the country is that tornado numbers have been down… drastically. In fact, the official count has hovered around record lows all year and that trend continues with another below average month of May. Here is where we stand now… this number has been adjusted for inflation.
So now you are probably wondering how we have inflation on tornado numbers. Well, for the simple reason that there are more people in the U.S now then there were in the past…. therefore there are better chances that someone reports a tornado this year than in years past. The great influx of storm chasers has had the same impact. So we have to adjust down the numbers so we can compare them to earlier era days, especially those without storm chasers.
Even though overall numbers still hover near record lows, there have been a couple parts of the country that have seen the majority of the activity. Look at the map below for example.
This map shows the number of tornado warnings issued by the individual National Weather Service offices. You can see that some have issued drastically more warnings than others. The Twin Cities forecast office has issued the typical amount so far for us at 7. But there are a couple of VERY unusual numbers. For example, the NWS office out of Topeka, Kansas hasn’t issued a single one… not to mention the Tulsa, Oklahoma office has only issued 2. These are arguably in the most tornado prone areas in the world and have gone through the heart of their tornado season with little if any warnings. Impressive!! Contrast that with offices in the southeast, with the Jackson, Mississippi office coming in with the most out of everyone, 2 times more than second place, at 65 total tornado warnings. The rest of Mississippi, Arkansas, west Tennessee, and southern Missouri have been quite active so far this year as well. But of course, now that we are into more of the summer season, the most prone tornado areas shift further north to the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley.