Tornadoes Everywhere !

May 25th, 2008:

Rather you have been following the news on KKTV 11 News or some other media outlet, you know this has been an extremely active year for tornadoes.  We have already seen numerous deaths and millions of dollars in damage.  The month of May has been especially bad.  Over 500 reports of tornadoes this month, and that has put us on a record pace for the monthly total and a yearly total.  The record tornado total for the month of May occurred in 2003, when 543 tornadoes occurred.  The record yearly total occurred in 2004, when 1717 tornadoes occurred.  Below is a graphic detailing just how active this year has been:

 

As you can see, the 10 year average is 1270 and we are already approaching 1000 tornadoes for this year.  We still have June to get through which is the second most active month for tornadoes.

WE GOT ACTIVE EARLY:

The tornado season got a jump start with a couple of early outbreaks.  One of the outbreaks occurred early in January and the other occurred in early February.  While these are usually pretty quiet months for tornadoes, a Spring-like weather pattern set up and was responsible for producing widespread severe weather.  The past several weeks have been quite active as well, and this is more typical.  Below are the top seven tornado days for 2008:

 

WOW !  The stretch of severe weather from May 22nd, May 23rd, to May 25th, was responsible for 155 tornado reports !  Plus, May 25th was the second most active severe weather day of 2008, with 521 reports of severe weather.  The most active severe weather day was February 5th, producing 524 reports of severe weather.  Unfortunately, May 25th produced an EF-5 tornado that destroyed most of the Iowa town of Parkersburg, including 6 fatalities.  The Parkersburg tornado was the 2008 equivalent to the Greensburg, Kansas tornado of 2007.  Below, I have posted links ( courtesy of the NWS Offices in Des Moines and Dodge City ) that contain more information on the two EF-5's and their similarities: 

Parkersburg Link:  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/crnews/display_story.php?wfo=dmx&storyid=14909&source=0

Greensburg Link:  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/ddc/News/Greensburg/Greensburg_1year_later.pdf

Has this been an especially deadly year for severe weather ?  Absolutely.  This is the deadliest year in more than a decade.  The severe weather season of 1998 produced 132 fatalities.  So far this year, we have seen 110 and we still have a long way to go in the severe weather season.  Below is a statistical depiction of the fatalities, the rating of the tornado that caused the fatalities, and how the person died ( i.e. in a house, mobile home, car, etc. ) 

ZCZC STATIJ ALL
NWUS23 KWNS 272136
2008 PRELIMINARY KILLER TORNADOES
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0436 PM CDT TUE MAY 27 2008
TIME
##  DATE   CST  LOCATION         DEATHS A B C D WATCH EF CIRCUMSTANCE
--  ------ ---- -----------      ------ - - - - ----- -- ------------
01  JAN 07 1833 GREENE-WEBSTER MO   3   3 0 0 0 WT001 EF3 02M 01H
02  JAN 08 0840 APPLETON AR         1   0 0 1 0 WT008 EF2 01M
03  JAN 29 1707 POSEYVILLE IN       2   2 0 0 0 WT026 EF2 02M
04  JAN 29 2000 HENRYVILLE IN       1   0 1 0 0 WS025 EF1 01M
05  FEB 05 1708 POPE-IZARD CO AR   12  12 0 0 0 WT036 EF4 05M 06H 01P
06  FEB 05 1710 BAXTER CO AR        1   1 0 0 0 WT035 EF2 01M
07  FEB 05 1738 SHELBY CO TN        3   3 0 0 0 WT037 EF2 03P
08  FEB 05 1800 FAYETTE CO TN       1   1 0 0 0 WT037 EF3 01V
09  FEB 05 1845 MADISON CO TN       2   2 0 0 0 WT037 EF4 02H
10  FEB 05 1936 HARDIN CO TN        3   3 0 0 0 WT037 EF4 03M
11  FEB 05 1944 GREENVILLE KY       3   3 0 0 0 WT037 EF3 03M
12  FEB 05 2204 SUMNER-MACON TN    22  22 0 0 0 WT040 EF3 14M 07H 01P
13  FEB 06 0140 ALLEN CO KY         4   4 0 0 0 WT039 EF3 04M
14  FEB 06 0300 LAWRENCE CO AL      4   4 0 0 0 WT041 EF4 04H
15  FEB 06 0517 JACKSON CO AL       1   1 0 0 0 WT041 EF4 01H
16  FEB 12 1345 INDEPENDENCE LA     1   1 0 0 0 WT051 EF1 01O
17  FEB 26 0358 LEEDS AL            1   0 1 0 0 WS076 EF1 01M
18  MAR 07 0845 LAKE CITY FL        1   1 0 0 0 WT104 EF2 01M
19  MAR 14 2040 ATLANTA GA          1   0 0 0 1 ----- EF2 01O
20  MAR 15 1024 POLK-FLOYD CO GA    2   2 0 0 0 WT119 EF3 02H
21  MAY 02 0710 CONWAY-VAN BUREN AR 5   0 5 0 0 WS248 EF3 02M 03H
22  MAY 02 1040 PULASKI CO AR       1   1 0 0 0 WT249 EF2 01M
23  MAY 08 0930 GUILFORD CO NC      1   1 0 0 0 WT282 EF2 01V
24  MAY 10 1630 OTTAWA CO/PICHER OK 6   6 0 0 0 WT293 EF4 03H 03V
24  MAY 10 1659 NEWTON-BARRY CO MO 15  15 0 0 0 WT293 EF4 01H 07M 06V
01P
25  MAY 10 1720 JASPER CO MO        1   1 0 0 0 WT293 EF1 01M
26  MAY 11 0436 LAURENS CO GA       2   2 0 0 0 WT302 EF2 02M
27  MAY 22 1302 WELD CO CO          1   1 0 0 0 WT334 EF3 01V
28  MAY 23 2130 PRATT CO KS         2   2 0 0 0 WT344 EF3 02V
29  MAY 25 1559 BUTLER CO IA        6   6 0 0 0 WT363 EF5 06H
30  MAY 25 1605 WASHINGTON CO MN    1   1 0 0 0 WT359 EF3 01H
___ ___ _ _ _
TOTALS:                           110 101 7 1 1
FATALITIES BY STATE:
AL06 AR20 CO01 FL01 GA05 IA06 IN03 KS02 KY07 LA01 MO19 MN01 NC01 OK06
TN31
FATALITIES BY CIRCUMSTANCE:
51M 37H 06P 14V 02O
NOTE: KILLER TORNADO 24 TRACKED FROM OK (6 FATAL) TO MO (15 FATAL).
A = IN TORNADO WATCH
B = IN SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH
C = CLOSE TO THE WATCH /15 MINUTES OR 25 MILES/
D = NO WATCH IN EFFECT
EF = ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE RATING
H = HOUSE
M = MOBILE HOME
O = OUTDOORS
P = PERMANENT BUILDING/STRUCTURE
V = VEHICLE
? = UNKNOWN
WS = SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH /NUMBER/
WT = TORNADO WATCH /NUMBER/
TORNADO-RELATED FATALITIES ARE ENTERED ONCE CONFIRMED BY NWS WEATHER
FORECAST OFFICES.
..CARBIN..05/27/2008   

I attribute the spike in fatalities to tornadoes hitting populated areas.  As urban sprawl continues, tornadoes will continue to hit areas that used to not be populated.  Tornadoes that used to pass through open fields, are now passing through residential areas and are causing deaths and millions in damage.  The best advice I can give is to have a severe weather safety plan.  Have your family know it, understand it, and practice it on a regular basis.  It just may save your life.

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by j Location: Atlanta on Apr 29, 2011 at 05:23 AM
    Is it true that the trees stopped storms from refueling by keeping moisture on the ground so storm systems dont continue to travel and now that we have been cutting the trees down to build tornados have been getting more frequent in the east?
  • by may Location: colo sps on Jun 20, 2008 at 01:50 PM
    you people suck with your weather break ins stop breaking in on shows.a
  • by Norman Location: CS on Jun 9, 2008 at 12:34 PM
    Hey Stephanie let's go storm chasing.
  • by Sarah Location: Colorado Springs on Jun 4, 2008 at 08:26 AM
    Those maps are very intresting. I was suprised to see how many Tornado reports there were in January! Are that many Tornandos normal down south for the month of January?
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on May 28, 2008 at 05:04 PM
    Yes, a lot of the reports are likely duplicates. My rule of thumb... Take 75% of the report number and enter that as the actual number of tornadoes. The others are the same tornado being reported two or three times. Something I will touch on in a future blog entry, is how we haven't seen much severe weather here in Southern Colorado this year. I should probably bite my tongue, because our most active month ( June ) is right around the corner. However, the elements haven't come together this year, and it has a lot to do with the persistant dry weather. Like I said, I will save that for a future entry. Thanks for reading our blog Tim.
  • by Tim Location: Colorado Springs on May 28, 2008 at 03:16 PM
    As a storm enthusiast who does a little chasing of my own, I've been watching the numbers rise all season. I like your comment about urban sprawl increasing the number of deadly or destructive tornadoes. I do like to point out to folks the number of reports can be due to the number of avenues available to report as compared to years past. There are more and more people running out with their cameras to "chase" the weather, and with this we are seeing more and more verifications on the warnings than we used to as well. With the preliminary reports pushing towards record numbers, I'm interested to see how many of the SPC prelims will verify. After reading a number of chase reports, I would venture to say we'll see SOME redundant reports, but we shall see. The models look interesting for next week, but perhaps the plains will get a bit of rest this week! I enjoyed the information, thanks for posting it. --Tim Stoecklein
KKTV 520 E. Colorado Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Office: (719) 634-2844 Fax: (719) 632-0808 News Fax: (719) 634-3741
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