U.S. Records fewest tornado deaths in decades

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Finally some good news in the weather world, the U.S. has the fewest deaths from tornadoes since 1986, some 30 years ago.  This is even more impressive because the population of the nation has increased drastically since then.  The reason?  A lot of it is likely because of better warnings, more lead time to get to shelter, and a lackluster year for twisters as a whole.  Preliminary numbers have just over a thousand touching down in 2016, down about 30% from what’s considered normal, which is about 1400 twisters.  Also, very few strong tornadoes of note this year with just a handful of EF4s and EF5s. 

As for Minnesota, it was a fairly average year… although the most active in several years with over 600 total reports of severe weather and 44 total tornadoes.  The 30 year average for tornadoes in Minnesota is 36 so we were slightly above average in that department.

So what can we expect in 2017?  Well, there’s really no way to know.  While there’s a process to decipher the number of hurricanes expected in a season or the most likely outcome of a month’s worth of weather (whether it’s cold or hot, wet or dry), there is no way to predict severe weather potential more than a few days in advance.  There is no correlation with long term patterns, intensity, and frequency of severe weather… it’s just a wait and see game.