All Weather News

Tornadoes Can Hit Cities – As We’ve Found Out in 2019

25 Oct 2019, 5:00 pm

You may have heard the myth that tornadoes can’t strike cities.

Well, 2019 has certainly proven that mistaken theory wrong – and not just once or twice.


An EF-3 tornado touched down on the north side of Dallas, Texas on October 20th, tracking more than 15 miles through America’s fourth-largest metro area. There were at least 10 tornadoes reported in north Texas during that event.


But that’s just one of four tornadoes to strike American cities so far in 2019 – and all of them have been strong (EF-2+ on the Enhanced Fujita Scale). By chance, they’ve also all taken place at night.

In September, tornadoes struck Sioux Falls, SD. The National Weather Service reports multiple EF-2 tornadoes occurred, with maximum winds of 125 mph in various parts of the city.

[Related article: Cleanup Underway After Tornadoes Hit Sioux Falls]


In May, a violent tornado hit Missouri’s capital, Jefferson City. The tornado was an EF-3, with maximum winds of 160 mph.  This was just one of nearly 3 dozen tornadoes that occurred in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri through that severe weather event.

[Related article: Devastation in Jefferson City]

Courtesy: NOAA / National Weather Service


Also in May, an EF-4 tornado hit Dayton, Ohio, with maximum winds near 170 mph! This tornado would become the strongest tornado to hit the state in nearly a decade. This was also one of many tornadoes on May 27-28, 2019.


Fortunately, none of these 2019 urban tornadoes have resulted in fatalities. That’s rather remarkable, considering the strength and timing of these tornadoes.

Urban areas cover only about three percent of the United States. Because urban areas account for such a small percentage of American land, most tornadoes pass over rural areas, perhaps helping fuel the running myth that tornadoes can’t strike metro areas.

But as we’ve learned in 2019, clearly that thought is a myth. Tornadoes can, and do, occur in any part of the U.S. While there are more likely areas that tornadoes occur due to location, weather pattern setup, terrain, and more, a tornado can occur anywhere.

Be sure you know your risk, and have a family plan if ever your area in in a tornado warning. Visit to learn more about how to prepare for tornadoes in your area.




About the author
Chris doesn't remember a time when that he didn't love the weather. When he was five years old, he wrote his first words, "Partly cloudy", in Ms. Benn's kindergarten class. According to Chris, it's been a love affair ever since, from teaching himself how to read forecast models at age 12, to landing at WeatherNation. Growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, he started to go after his lifelong drea... Load Morem of becoming a meteorologist by predicting whether or not there would be snow days - turning him into Greenwich High School's "defacto weatherman". He turned that snow day-predicting website into a front page story a local newspaper, which in turn earned him a look at WABC-TV in New York, where Chris did the weather live on-air at the age of 16. He attended Boston University, where he continued being a "weather nerd", performing weather updates on the campus radio and TV stations, and doing the daily forecasts for the student newspaper. Following his studies at BU, Chris worked at Mile High Sports and ESPN Denver for four years while pursuing his certification in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. Chris is a huge sports fan, rooting for the Rockies, Nuggets, Broncos, Avalanche and UConn. He frequently find links between sports and weather, including an investigative analysis he did in 2013, finding trends between Peyton Manning's play and game time temperature (he doesn't like the cold). Chris also enjoys running, playing any sport, socializing and periodically overeating at all-you-can-eat buffets.

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