Tornadoes of 2011January 30th, 2012 at 12:01 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
This map shows where the 59 killer tornadoes hit in 2011. Four of those tornadoes crossed state lines. A total of 551 people were killed (side note…a single tornado in 1925 killed more people than all the tornadoes in the world last year). Most of the deaths occurred on two days, April 27th (Alabama) and May 22 (Joplin MO). Of the 1688 confirmed tornadoes in 2011, the state with the most tornadoes was Alabama (177), followed by Mississippi (162), Texas (115) and North Carolina (113). Six of the killer tornadoes were rated EF5. They caused 281 fatalities. Another 13 of the killer tornadoes were rated EF4. They resulted in 160 fatalities. So 80% of the deaths were caused by 19 large, violent tornadoes. Of the 551 fatalities, we know that 111 occurred in mobile homes (over 20%). Since far fewer than 20% of the population lives in mobile homes, it again shows that it’s best to evacuate mobile homes in a tornado situation and move to a safer location. 226 of the deaths occurred in permanent homes (40%), 92 were in businesses (have a plan if you’re shopping during a tornado watch), 7 occurred to people who were outside. 82 fatalities are unclassified at this time. Michigan had 11 twisters, 129 reports of large hail and 442 reports of wind damage. So, we were more than 40 times more likely to have thunderstorm wind damage than have a tornado and often severe thunderstorm winds cover a much larger area than a tornado (especially here in Michigan, where most of our tornadoes are small). Eight states recorded no tornadoes (AK, HI, VT, UT, W VA, NH, RI, ID). With the La Nina continuing, it’s likely we’ll have an above normal number of tornadoes again in 2012. If I had to guess (and it’s only a guess), and it’s only a guess, I’d look for tornadoes to take aim at the same area as 2011 and also at the Ohio River area (Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, maybe southern Illinois and Indiana). While most strong tornadoes and tornado fatalities occur in the United States, other countries do get tornadoes. Last year we had 12 tornado fatalities in Bangladesh, 2 in S. Africa and one each in Canada, Russia and the Philippines.