2004 a new record year for tornadoes?

The SPC has released the final number of tornadoes for June. This pushes 2004's total to 1010 so far (through June), with July through December yet to be added. By contrast, the total tornadoes for all of 2003 is 1376. There is every indication that 2004 will be on the record books for the highest number of tornadoes ever recorded in a calender year (at least since 1950).

This is due, in part, to the hurricanes this year, and to the greater number of chasers and spotters in the field. What do you guys think? Does 2004 deserve the recognition it will most likely receive? I really don't feel like it does, but I can't quite explain why.

It is interesting to note the relatively low number of killer tornadoes, and low tornado death numbers this year, especially since this will probably be a record year.
I think we dont realise it mostly because of how spread out it was. Things were pretty even through out the entire season, where as in 2003, we had that freakish month of May that caught everyone's attention.
I don't pay attention to climatology like I do chasing. In terms of chasing, 2004 will go down as one of the greatest chase years of all-time. The events were very chaseable, and evenly distributed throughout the season, once the season got going. I remember people posting on here the first week of May saying the year was a bust, that we were looking at another 1988 - and I just laughed. If there's still May left on the calendar, anything is possible.

A lot of people also forget the last third of April, which was quite active in the S Plains, with tornadoes on April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 30th. Add in March 27 in western Oklahoma, and you can see just how prolific a year it was. I don't know of any other year where so many chasers saw over 20 tornadoes. I saw 24, and most people I know bested that. That's an amazing stat.
Yeah, I agree with Shane. It happened to be a great year for chaser friendly tornadoes, and there also just happened to be a lot of them in general. On several occasions this year there was an obvious target, storms triggering during daylight hours, reasonable storm motions and that is about all a chaser can ask for. Certainly the tropical contribution is huge for boosting the tornado numbers this year - but it was a fairly active year in general across a large portion of the central plains. I think this shows up clearly in the prelim data:


I never understand the concerns over the mid-May lull, as there often is a 1-2 week period of May when chasing opps just disappear for a while - but they almost always recover. Last year was the exception - I guess short term memory kicking in.