No violent tornadoes in the US for the first time since 1950

No violent tornadoes in the US for the first time since 1950

Quick Facts:

  • Violent tornado defined as an EF-4 or EF-5
  • No tornadoes rated as EF-4 or EF-5 happened in the United States during 2018

It has been a crazy year in the weather world. Green Country has seen some interesting weather phenomena and also some extremes for the state of Oklahoma during 2018.

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With only a few days left in 2018, it is possible and likely that 2018 becomes the first year, since modern record-keeping began (1950), with no violent tornadoes touching down in the United States.

What is considered a violent tornado?

Tornadoes are evaluated on a scale of EF-0 to EF-5 with 0 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest. To be classified as a "violent tornado" the ranking must be an EF4 or EF5.

How's 2018 looking for tornadoes?

Overall, it's been quiet for tornadoes. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Taking the average since 1950, Oklahoma typically sees 56.2 tornados per year. So far in 2018, Oklahoma isn't near that. That is likely to stay through the rest of the year. 2014 was the lowest year with only 16 tornadoes for the entire year in Oklahoma.

2018 Annual Graph of Tornadoes
2018 Annual Graph of Tornadoes

If you look at the bar graph above, there are a couple of spikes on dates where more tornadoes were reported across the country.

The two big dates are October 31st (Halloween) and April 13th. Typically, the spikes tend to happen in Spring, not in the fall like this year. 2018 has seen 1,154 tornado reports as of December 18th. 61 of those were on Halloween with 46 happening on April 13th. The next spike was on December 1st with 38 tornado reports.

Of those 1,154 tornadoes, about 3% were recorded in Oklahoma. Iowa, Louisiana and Mississippi are in the top three with 84, 84, and 67 tornadoes reported respectively.

What does all this mean?

Since records starting being kept in 1950, this would mark the first time that no EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes happened. The last time that this was possible was in 2005 when the first violent tornado didn't happen until November 15th.

Even in Oklahoma, records were set where a tornado wasn't seen until later than normal.

Although the climate data is showing that fewer violent tornadoes are happening, there are studies that show a higher number of tornadoes are happening on fewer days.