Near record low tornado count so far this year

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After a fairly busy severe weather year last year nationwide, this year is nearing record lows.  So far, through early August, the number of tornadoes stands at just 704.  That’s the lowest number of reported tornadoes in the U.S. since 2013, and second lowest since 2005. By this point in the year, we should have seen over 1100 reports.  Now this stat comes from National Weather Service local reports, so all of these numbers are preliminary.  Most of the time, these numbers are much higher than the actual confirmed tornado count because most tornadoes, especially large tornadoes, often get more than one storm report. 

In Minnesota, we have seen 13 preliminary reports of tornadoes so far, that’s about a third of what is typical by the end of the year.  With the bulk of our yearly tornadoes typically showing up in May, June, and July, the odds of getting to average in our tornado count this year is lowering quickly by the day… although that’s not exactly a bad thing.

Overall storm reports when you include strong winds and hail though are right about average.  Minnesota often sees about 400 reports of severe weather every year.  So far, we are at 373… right on target for this time of year.  Now that the heart of severe weather season is behind, we can expect a general downward trend to nature’s severe antics.  But, don’t let your guard down, because we can get severe storms all the way into early October… they just because less common.

The reason for the countries’ “quietish” summer?  The overall weather pattern the last couple of months nationwide just hasn’t been all that conducive for storms as upper level winds have been fairly light, which prevents storms from having long life spans, and mid-level temps have been above normal, which can prevent warm air from rising to create strong thunderstorms.  Now, this doesn’t mean that the season will be a “dud” because August can be a very volatile month… and so can September for that matter.  But so far this year, it’s been especially quiet for the U.S.  So quiet in fact, that North America’s strongest tornado so far was actually in Canada just a few days ago.