Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Severe Weather Drought by Kajm Severe Weather Drought by Kajm
Severe Weather Drought: Tornadoes drop to a new all time record low, major hurricane absence is setting a new record every day.

Essay by Harold Brooks, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory

In a blow to those that want to link increased severe weather with global warming/climate change, a new record low has been set according to NOAA tornado data. At the same time, it has been 2750 days (7 years, 6 months, 11 days) since the last major Hurricane (Cat 3 or greater) hit the USA on October 24th 2005 when hurricane Wilma made landfall. Each new day is a new record in this major hurricane drought.

The 12-month period from May 2012 to April 2013 was remarkable for the absence of tornado activity and tornado impacts in the United States.

We can start by looking at the number of EF1 and stronger tornadoes during that period. A final count is available through January 2013 and we have a pretty good estimate of how many occurred in February through April, although final numbers won’t be available until July. Although the 12 month total may change a little bit with the final data, it’s unlikely to change enough to affect the results here.

From May 2012-April 2013, the estimate is that there were 197 tornadoes rated EF1 or stronger. Where does that stack up historically? Well, we have pretty good data back to 1954. During that time, the previous low for (E)F1 and stronger tornadoes in a 12 consecutive calendar month period was 247, from June 1991-May 1992. The next lowest (ignoring the overlapping periods, such as April 2012-March 2013) was 270 from November 1986-October 1987. The lowest non-overlapping 12 month counts on record from 1954-present, with the starting month, are:

197 May 2012 (preliminary)
247 June 1991
270 November 1986
289 December 2001
298 June 2000

This apparent record was set less than two years after the record for most EF1+ tornadoes in a 12-month period was set, with 1050 from June 2010-May 2011. The time series showing the evolution of the number of (E)F1+ tornadoes since 1954 is below. The number of (E)F1+ tornadoes in the 12 months beginning with the time on the x-axis is plotted for every month starting in January 1954 and ending in May 2012, the most recent point.


The death toll from May 2012-April 2013 was 7. National Weather Service official statistics go back to January 1950, but we can extend that by using the work of Tom Grazulis from the Tornado Project, who has collected tornado fatality information back into the 17th century. The data are reasonably good back to 1875, but it’s still possible that there are some missed fatalities, particularly as we go back farther in time. So, where does 7 fatalities in 12 consecutive calendar months stack up? Again, here are the lowest totals, going back to 1875, for 12 consecutive months, with the starting month. (For overlapping periods, such as April 2012-March 2013 and May 2012-April 2013, only the lowest period is listed.)

5 September 1899
7 May 2012
8 August 1991
12 November 1909
12 May 1940


Harold Brooks is a research meteorologist with the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma.


More graphics and commentary here [link]

A bit more on the Hurricane Drought, here [link]


That's it for the moment. Just want to say here, that I have Not been doing what I need to be doing, in order to properly explain the situations I am attempting to cover.
However, recent hyperbole directed against myself, has helped me crystalize the project I wish to put up here. I have learned a fair bit, once again, just as I did with :iconuncledartanian:.

It's going to take a month or three. I plan to cover a LOT of ground.
So I may be quiet on DA for a while.

If your intent is to be unreasonable or unpleasant, Please read my Policy Statement before commenting Policy StatementPolicy Statement
This shouldn't be necessary, but it is about time I went ahead and put this up.
I write about climate change. I am not an expert in it; I do not claim to be an expert in it; I know for a fact that I have a long way to go, and will always be making new connections as insights come to me, from the massive amount of reading that I do.
Ideology does Not play a role in my thinking. Reality is neither conservative nor liberal, no matter how desperately some people wish it were so.
My belief in a Higher being plays NO role in my thinking.
I am Not 'anti-climate,' 'anti-environment,' or 'anti-science.' Anyone who uses such terms, is at best, Ignorant- at worst, Intellectually Dishonest.
If you do not know what I believe, ASK, rather than make false assumptions.
Simply put, I do not have the time and Especially not the patience, to argue my point. That is why I write it out.  Take the time to read, and Think.
I have no time to click on your links, becaus
Add a Comment:
UNRELENT Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
I hear slightly less and less every year, yet that only makes each "incident" a bigger indication of our approaching doom, apparently. ;)
karkovice1 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Not as many tornadoes in the Midwest this year, eh?

No major hurricane to hit the U.S. since October, 2005???

But what about the one that hit New England last year!?
Kajm Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Sany? It was only a Cat 1 when it was approaching NYC, and had fallen to a tropical storm status by the time it hit. However, it combined with a huge cold / snow storm sweeping in from the west. On top of that, it was high tide And a full moon.
The snowstorm dumped a lot of extra energy into Sandy than it would have had otherwise.
karkovice1 Featured By Owner May 5, 2013
Oh, I see, now! You were only talking about Category 3 hurricanes, weren't you?

What category was Katrina, then?
Kajm Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well, no, that bit about the hurricanes covers All catergories, one thru five.

Katrina was a Cat 5 out in the Gulf of Mexico. By the time it hit New Orleans, it had dropped to a Cat 3, with lower winds. The last Category 5 hurricane to hit the US mainland was Andrew in 1992.
Kajm Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
'Sandy' Oy. You should see it when I type past entire words...
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
May 5, 2013
Image Size
91.6 KB


468 (1 today)
4 (who?)