Garrett’s Blog: 2012 Tornado Count Near Record Low

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The number of tornadoes through mid November in 2012 is near the lowest level ever recorded in 62 years. Tornado record keeping started in 1950.

The graph shows the maximum percentile (red line) and minimum percentile (pink line). 2012 is the black line. You can see how the tornado season was active and close to the maximum recorded levels back in March & April but through the late Spring and Summer the tornado count remained below normal and continues to trend that direction. To account for the increase in technology, population, and advent of Doppler Radar which resulted in an increase in tornado reports and detection the Storm Prediction Center has adjusted the data to give a reliable depiction of tornado numbers in the early years of record keeping.

For comparison purposes, this year we’ve only recorded 757 tornadoes (preliminary data since reports will continue to be verified in the coming months.

Last year, was a year of extreme tornadoes with 1,692 reports!

In a normal year, around 1,300 tornadoes can be expected. The graph included is from Greg Carbin at SPC and shows the dramatic difference in the tornado count from last year to this year through September 2012. A trend that continued into October & November.

In Arkansas, we typically see a second tornado (but smaller) tornado maximum in November with a weak severe weather season. The long-range forecast for the rest of November does not support this trend in 2012 and it’s very likely that we’ll end 2012 nationally with a near record low number of tornadoes.