2004 the new record tornado year?

Mike Hollingshead

Any thoughts on if 2004 will become the new record tornado year in the US. I certainly see this as quite possible. It's a pretty amazing feat if it happens if you look back to pre-May and how the south and southeast did not help this. I think the canes have balanced out the se stats lacking and the plains maddness this spring-summer pushed us into the record breaking arena. Thoughts?

Mike
 
Possibly. It was a pretty busy year for US chasers. It probably won't rank very high, compared to other years for tornadoes. Though, Washington state also had more tornadoes reported than usual.

As for Canada, I don't think it was extremely active season than we usually have. However, I remember a few tornadoes were reported in areas that didn't usually have them on a regular basis. For example, Nova Scotia, which had a few more than normal. Of course our Canadian prairie and eastern chasers can provide a better insight into this season than I can.

In BC alone, it was pretty dead. Thanks to the drought we had this summer, there wasn't much in the way of severe storms.
 
According to Storm Data, the year 2003 holds the record for the most tornadoes in a year.

The source of data, where I research this information was: 2003 Annual Summaries (Storm Data) and the table I used: Nation Summary of Tornadoes, Tornado Days and Deaths by Month and Anuual. 1953-2003.

Note: Storm Data uses tornado segments, which divide the tornado track by county.

Top 15 Tornado Years: Storm Data
01. 1530 in 2003.
02. 1525 in 1998.
03. 1520 in 1999.
04. 1298 in 1992.
05. 1235 in 1995.

06. 1213 in 2001.
07. 1176 in 1993.
08. 1170 in 1996.
09. 1148 in 1997.
10. 1133 in 1990.

11. 1132 in 1991.
12. 1102 in 1973.
13. 1082 in 1994.
14. 1076 in 2000.
15. 1046 in 1982.

According to Storm Data, only 15 years in the United States had 1000 tornadoes or more.

Note: the 2003 Storm Data Annual Summary tornado numbers do not match with a couple of sources from SPC for 2003. For 2003: Storm Data mentions 1530 tornadoes, SPC mentions 1376.

Why do they not match: is Storm Data uses tornado segments, which divide the tornado track by county to verify warnings.

Mike
 
Of course those numbers are all relative. There's no way that of the top 14 years, only 2002 doesn't fall in place since 1990. I wonder how many there actually were in 1973?

Maybe I should get out more. Michigan has been dead since early June, which doesn't happen often. I personally don't rank the year very high, but I don't live in Nebraska either :)
 
Maybe I should get out more. Michigan has been dead since early June, which doesn't happen often. I personally don't rank the year very high, but I don't live in Nebraska either :)

I agree with that... Michigan pretty much sucked this year. I did catch a few nice storms, but most seemed to lack a real punch. I believe we only cracked 90 degrees a few times here in MI this year as well , and I remember back in mid-July, there was a rainy/cloudy day in which temperatures topped out in the upper 50's to low 60's - Setting an all time record low high for the month of July (in Detroit anyway). :shock:

I believe back in January, CPC called for a warmer and somewhat drier summer for the MI region. CPC is also calling for a warmer and drier winter for us, but I'm not putting away the snow gear just yet :lol:
 
Yeah many states had horrible years outside the plains. It just goes to show what the plains are really all about when the plains states want to crank them out...which they did. I don't think the plains states needed to ask MI to participate in the record breaking year...lol. And, I'm pretty certain when the numbers are added up it will be just that, a new record, and it will have done it with little help from these other 'tornado states'.

Possibly. It was a pretty busy year for US chasers. It probably won't rank very high, compared to other years for tornadoes.

Watch. It's really sort of interesting to note some thoughts on this year from those outside the plains. I think many outside the plains really have no idea just how active the 2004 tornado season was in the plains.

http://kamala.cod.edu/spc/latest.nwus21.KWNS.html

Compare preliminary numbers to preliminary numbers and 04 is already smoking 03.

04 preliminary: 1433
03 preliminary: 1245

Mike
 
I just know from personal experience that I haven't seen a year like this, though if any were close it would be last year. I wouldn't doubt this to be a record-breaking year ... particularly once the numbers are added from hurricane-spawned tornadoes in the east. This year was one of those rare, wild occurrences when it almost seemed possible for a chaser to walk out the door, catch a storm and see a tornado just about any time they wanted - to the point that it almost became a joke ... I remember last May Mike H. saying something like 'yeah, well guess I'll go find another tornado today.'
 
Yes I agree. The tornado production for a while there became silly. The year seeing a tornado on a given day wasn't all that rare. That period from May 10 through June 13 will probably not be beat in my lifetime....seriously. If you didn't pay too much attention to this time frame it will seem as though it's a joke. Surely an interesting stat can be taken from the tornado production in that time frame.
 
Yeah, I agree that 2004 should be one of the top if not THE top year for tornadoes of all-time. I think when people talk about good or bad tornado years they're generally referring to the Plains. Anything outside of the US Plains/Midwest is kind of moot IMO, because climatalogically those areas just aren't "reliable" for consistent tornado production.

It's easy for newer people to overlook the true magnitude of the Plains because of recent years where some chasers have had luck outside the traditional "Alley," leading to silly suggestions that the Alley has moved.
 
I think when people talk about good or bad tornado years they're generally referring to the Plains. Anything outside of the US Plains/Midwest is kind of moot IMO, because climatalogically those areas just aren't "reliable" for consistent tornado production.

Yep... Here in MI we get F3/F4's every 10 years at best (averaging), other than that, it's just little rope tornadoes which are very hard to see given poor contrast and the terrain.

This year was bad for me, I didn't have the money to travel to the plains... But I just might be there for the 2005 season (which will probably suck since '03 and '04 were "years of a lifetime"). Looks like my funds were a day late and a dollar short :(
 
Yeah many states had horrible years outside the plains. It just goes to show what the plains are really all about when the plains states want to crank them out...which they did.

http://kamala.cod.edu/spc/latest.nwus21.KWNS.html

Look more carefully at this though - the anamoly is in the late summer to fall - while the counts from May were high - the numbers are no better than last year - just more concentrated over the high plains to the upper Midwest than they were in 2003. The big difference is the ~300 additional tornado reports in the SE this late summer and fall from landfalling tropical systems, ~ 20 % of all reported so far this year.

Glen
 
Look more carefully at this though - the anamoly is in the late summer to fall - while the counts from May were high - the numbers are no better than last year -

I started this topic off with....

I think the canes have balanced out the se stats lacking and ....

I guess I never noticed even in 03 the early season typical of the se states wasn't that great. Even without those cane tors we would be within about 100 of 2003s prelimiary totall with a few months to go. Breaking any record by any amount is usally amamzing. If you look at those numbers you'll see we could probably do it without the canes tornadoes. Not all of that August number is from a cane. No matter how it's achieved it will be a pretty amazing feat doing it back to back years.

Mike
 
Yeah, not all the August numbers are from 'canes, but most of them are. But yeah, I see that you mentioned that above now. Also, I'd expect to keep seeing record tornado counts grow - I think we still only catch ~80% of all tornado events that occur - but get a little better each year. Also, events that before probably would have been counted as a single event now might be 2-3 because of someone catching it on video and showing it as distinct separate events. That said, the last two years have still been more active than usual IMO and apparently most others....

Glen
 
It's interesting how NE Colorado gets the bullseye now because of the numerous landspouts each year that usually hit nothing and go nowhere.......I say this because the Energy Center Gang generally dismiss all tornadoes below F2, when using climatalogical data for studies or even creating climatalogical data for tornadoes.
 
4 more tornadoes in Florida today. Two of them hit around my vacation spot. Like they need anything else this season. The important thing is that this tornado record is a running total and it ain't over yet.
 
Hi,

I do tend to agree that after a slow start, the tornadoes came through in great numbers. Simply amazing. Wierd though that this year, we did not chase the Texas Panhandle.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
 
It's interesting how NE Colorado gets the bullseye now because of the numerous landspouts each year that usually hit nothing and go nowhere.......I say this because the Energy Center Gang generally dismiss all tornadoes below F2, when using climatalogical data for studies or even creating climatalogical data for tornadoes.

In a sense, I agree.. but in essence, a tornado is a tornado regardless... besides, how many places can you literally go out on any given afternoon in summer, bag a couple spouts, then head back in time to catch a Rockies game! :)

And for a comment on the tornado production this year, all my tornadoes came within the confines of the Plains... I didn't have to go beyond for mine this year, but.. I spent all my time in Kansas and Nebraska! Only twice did I actually end up chasing anything south of the Kansas/Oklahoma border. The funny quote of the year, we're chasing Iowa in May and we're still TOO FAR south! :lol:
 
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