Number of U.S. Tornadoes Down Sharply in 2013

Number of U.S. Tornadoes Down Sharply in 2013

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U.S. Tornado Statistics from the Storm Prediction Center U.S. Tornado Statistics from the Storm Prediction Center

The average number of tornadoes is down sharply for 2013, according to statistics from the Storm Prediction Center. That also means that damaging tornado videos are something we haven't seen as much of this year. But there are some videos that will stay on our minds for years to come, like one of a massive EF-5 tornado ripping through the town of El Reno, Oklahoma May 31st. An eighteen wheeler was blown over like a toy by the high winds. This single storm caused nearly $40 million in damage.

But climate researchers tell us we're in the midst of one of the slowest tornado years in decades.

"We're down significantly on the number of tornadoes, in a way that's good news, but again the numbers don't tell the whole story, it was a fairly devastating spring in the Southern Plains with one fairly large tornado that went through Southern Oklahoma," said Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jeff Garmon, with the National Weather Service Office in Mobile, Alabama.

The tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma May 20th made for an incredible video as that EF-5 storm roared through a church parking lot.

The Moore, Oklahoma storm brought devastation to two elementary schools, where nine children were killed.

But graphs produced by The Storm Prediction Center show the overall number of storms is down. There are usually about 1,000 tornadoes through this point in August. So far, we've seen just over 600 - just over half the number we usually see.

And the number of strong tornadoes is down by nearly two-thirds.

Garmon says dry conditions may have kept more storms from forming. "We can remember news stories about the big drought that happened out over the Desert Southwest and over the Southern Plains states during the spring months. It was very dry out there, not a lot of moisture."

The number of storms varies with changing weather patterns from year to year. Only two years ago over 1500 storms were reported through this time in August.

As this year has shown us, no matter how many storms there are, it only takes one tornado in the wrong place at the wrong time to cause scars that can take years to heal.

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