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NOAA News Online

Oct. 7, 2004 — The total number of tornado reports in the United States reached a record high for the second month in a row because of land-falling hurricanes, according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center. Preliminary numbers indicate a total of 247 tornadoes reported during the month of September, said Dan McCarthy, SPC's warning coordination meteorologist.

Based on tornado records going back to 1950, this significantly tops the previous September record of 139 tornadoes set in 1967. Other high numbers for September include: 104 in 1998; 101 in 1996; and 84 in 2001. The average number of tornadoes in the U.S. during September is 47.

Nearly 1600 tornadoes this year... That's gotta be very near a record!

I know a lot of this lies in the fact that more tornadoes are being reported and counted than every before. That said, that certainly won't cover up for the fact that this was a very active tornado year.

On an interesting note, this is now the longest F5 drought in the US since accurate tornado records began (~1950). We haven't had an F5 for over 5 years, which is longer than any other F5 drought. This seems quite interesting considering the active past couple of years. I think much of this lies in fact that we're seeing how important structure integrity (engineering, etc) is in the destruction of structures, but it's still quite interesting IMO.