Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: Year of the Tornado

Increasing amounts of severe weather have been predicted because of global warming, and has been occurring.

Posted by: JeffMasters, 7:25 PM GMT on December 27, 2011 +33
The year 2011 will forever be known as Year of the Tornado in the U.S. A series of violent severe storms swept across the Plains and Southeast U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period. The epic tornado onslaught killed 552 people and caused $25 billion in damage. Three of the five largest tornado outbreaks on record hit in a six-week period, including the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history--the $10.2 billion dollar Southeast U.S. Super Outbreak, April 25 - 28. Even more stunning was the $9 billion late-May tornado outbreak that brought an EF-5 tornado to Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin tornado did $3 billion in damage and killed 158 people--the largest death toll from a U.S. tornado since 1947, seventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history, and the most expensive tornado in world history. In a year of amazing weather extremes, this year's tornado season ranks as the top U.S. weather story of 2011.

Six top-end EF-5 tornadoes hit the U.S. in 2011, tying this year with 1974 for the greatest number of these most destructive tornadoes. The EF-5 tornadoes of 2011:

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)

2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)

3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)

4) The April 27, 2011 Rainsville/Dekalb County, Alabama tornado (26 killed, 34 mile path length.)

5) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (158 killed, 14 mile path length.)

6) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.)

A few other remarkable statistics on the tornado season of 2011, compiled from NOAA's official press release, the NOAA Extreme Weather 2011 page, and Wikipedia's excellent tornado pages:

- The tornado death toll of 552 in 2011 ties 1936 as the second deadliest year for tornadoes in U.S. history. Only 1925, with 794 fatalities, was deadlier. In 1936, violent tornadoes hit Tupelo Mississippi (216 killed), and Gainesville, Georgia (203 killed.) During the 1930s, the tornado death rate per million people was 60 - 70 times as great as in the year 2000 (Figure 4), implying that this year's tornadoes may have killed tens of thousands of people if we did not have our modern tornado modern warning system.



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