Tornado Season: The Weather’s Bark Is Worse Than It’s Bite

Tornado
Let's twist again... like we did last summer!

You’re probably sick of hearing about bad weather news.

From exploding Hawaiian volcanoes to Colorado wildfires to California mudslides to Puerto Rican hurricanes to floods to heat waves to you name it, the weather over the last year or so has been just plain awful. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters have taken hundreds of lives and done billions of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure.

So, it may come as a surprise to learn that, for only the second year ever (that we know of, at least) nobody in the US was killed by a tornado.

That’s right. This May-June period has been casualty free. And that’s the height of tornado season, along with March and April. There’s only been one other May-June period in US history in which nobody was killed by a tornado, and that was in 2005.

In fact, if things continue this way, we may actually be on track for the least-dangerous tornado year ever in the US. Since the start of 2018, tornadoes have killed only 3 people. The most recent death was on April 13th, in Louisiana.

Tornadoes kill about 70 Americans every year, on average.  And in an average tornado season, from January to June, there are about 1,000 tornadoes in the US.

This year there have been 571 (at most; once duplicate reports are scrubbed from the record that number may come down even further), and we’re coming to the end of tornado season.

Oklahoma and Kansas both went through extremely quiet early tornado seasons. Throughout all of April, which is prime tornado season, Oklahoma had not one tornado.

You know, Oklahoma. Where the green grass grows, and the WIND COMES SWEEPIN’ DOWN THE PLAINS.

Not one tornado.

Meteorologists are saying that this tornado drought is down to a consistent wave of cold air blowing down from Canada. Tornadoes require hot, damp air to get going, and thanks to the Canadian airwaves blowing our way, the conditions haven’t been right for them this year.

So that’s one thing we can thank Canada for, at least.

Another thing contributing to the remarkably low tornado death rate this year is our increasingly effective advance warning system. Tornadoes are only dangerous to people when people aren’t prepared for them. We’ve reached a point in America where we can predict when and where a tornado will hit pretty reliably, and that allows people to take precautions and stay out of harms way.

Still, only 3 deaths so far when the average is 70? That’s some good news for a change.