2018 an all-time record quiet year for tornadoes in USA
Although 2018 was a deadly and devastating year for wildfires, floods and hurricanes, one weather phenomenon was remarkably absent from the news: Tornadoes.
Both the number of Americans killed by tornadoes and the number of violent tornadoes in the U.S. were record lows.
Tornadoes killed only 10 Americans in 2018, the fewest since unofficial records began in 1875 during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant. The previous record low year for tornado deaths was 1910, when only 12 people died, according to data from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory.
In an “average” year, 69 Americans are killed by tornadoes, the Weather Channel said. Death tolls can fluctuate wildly year to year. Seven years ago, tornadoes killed 553 Americans, mostly in Alabama and Missouri.
And for the first time since official records began in 1950, there were no “violent” tornadoes in 2018 in the United States, according to NOAA. Violent tornadoes are those with estimated wind speeds of 166 mph or higher — EF4 or EF5 twisters on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity.
Oddly, North America’s strongest tornado was in Canada, where an EF4 tornado hit Aug. 10, according to the Weather Channel.
“The causes for 2018’s lack of violent tornadoes are many, but one key factor is high pressure tending to be more dominant than normal throughout peak season this past spring,” Capital Weather Gang forecaster Ian Livingston said.
Better warnings most likely also saved lives. “Accurate and timely watches and warnings – including cellphone alerts – supported in part by improved radar technology play a major role in saving lives throughout the tornado season,” NOAA spokesman Chris Vaccaro said in July.
Several tornadoes hit Texas on Halloween.