2018: A Year Without Violent Tornadoes
While 2018 had its fair share of devastating weather events, there was some good news.
The amount of tornadoes to strike the United States was below normal last year. In 2018, a total of 968 tornadoes was confirmed by local National Weather Service offices (as of January 2, 2019) throughout the country. During an average year, between 1,200 and 1,300 tornadoes can occur. While the lower-than-average count is certainly great news, the tornadoes that did touch down in 2018 caused billions of dollars in damages. Sadly, there were several fatalities as well.
What is very interesting, however, is that no violent tornadoes occurred in 2018. This was the first time in modern tornado-tracking history (since 1950) that this was the case! But what exactly is a “violent” tornado? According to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center, a “violent” tornado is one that is rated an EF-4 or EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Tornadoes that are rated as EF-4 or EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale have estimated wind speeds of 166 mph or greater that result in catastrophic damage.
The absence of such rated tornadoes in 2018 is remarkable. There were, however, one dozen EF-3 tornadoes and six dozen EF-2 tornadoes (not to mention the hundreds of EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes). Of the tornadoes that did occur, there were ten related deaths. Two deaths were a result of one tornado that struck the Baltimore area of Maryland on November 2nd. One death each occurred in the states of Arkansas (February 24th), Kentucky (February 24th), Louisiana (April 13th), North Dakota (July 10th), Virginia (September 17th), Mississippi (November 1st), Tennessee (November 6th), and Missouri (December 1st).