Tornadoes Outside The U.S.

The United States, if I'm correct, has the most frequent and violent tornado activity in the world. What country comes second? And are there any historic tornado events from other countries I should know about?

:scratch:
 
Also I am not completley familar with tornado events in other countries but do know that Bangladesh has been host to a couple very strong and deadly tornadoes. Maybe someone can expand on that.
 
Encarta lists Australia for having the 2nd greatest # of tornadoes. Other countries mentioned include India, China, Russia, Germany, England, and Bangladesh. Northern Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil east of the Andes Mountains is also an area very prone for tornadoes as warm, tropical ocean air flows southwest and onshore. In October of 1984 hundreds were injured by a tornado southwest of Rio De Janerio. Bangladesh has been noted for the violence of their tornadoes but that is also in part due to the very poor structures and very crowded living conditions of the region. One of the more violent twisters killed around 450 people and injured nearly 50,000 in 1996. Earlier this year I believe it was that around 30 people were killed and 400 injured from a tornado.

You can find a lot of good info about worldwide tornadoes at the Tornado Project (click on all tornadoes, and the worldwide tornado page). I know Harold Brooks has authored a couple of good papers on global tornado climatology as well. I noticed that a forecaster for the Dodge City office has put together a nice page and nice research about tornadoes near the Indian subcontinent.
http://www.bangladeshtornadoes.org/
 
The widely varying standards in weather reporting and meteorological/statistical analysis make it extremely difficult to draw comparisons. We don't have too many Skywarn spotters and sheriffs watching the skies outside of Calcutta, nor anyone steeped in Great Plains post-mortem storm analysis churning out numbers on India tornado distribution.

There is a tremendous amount of work involved in gathering the information, removing duplicate reports, and creating a meaningful tornado database, as Roger Edwards, Chuck Doswell, Don Burgess, and others have indicated, and it depends on a substantial amount of staffing, funding, and political vision (which has somewhat deteriorated in theNWS during the past 15 years). By comparision, many countries have practically no tornado climatology.

Based on my own guesswork I have a really hard time deciding what country would be #2 and #3 for a tornado ranking. France, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Argentina, and Australia are certainly in the top ten but I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to arrange them, even though I hold a fair amount of interest in this topic. Maybe in a few more decades we'll know for sure.

Tim
 
I have read in various literature that the United Kingdom (Great Britain)
especially England has the most tornadoes per sqaure mile as a country.

Mike
 
I have actually heard that study, too. Hey, you UK chasers, where's all your great tornado pics? Are you holding out on us?
 
I have read in various literature that the United Kingdom (Great Britain)
especially England has the most tornadoes per sqaure mile as a country.

Mike
Looking at the average number of tornadoes a year per 10000 square km, Holland gets far more tornadoes than the UK does.
Judging from the Guinness World Record Book, England gets about 1.35 tornadoes per 10000 km² every year. The US as a whole stands at 1.23 tornadoes per 10000 km².
As The Netherlands is a small country with relatively many landspout tornadoes and an occasional mesocyclone-tornado, Holland has an average of about 3.95 tornadoes per 10000 km² a year. (waterspouts NOT included)
To bring this in perspective; according to numbers presented here http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severe.../tornadoes.html, of all US states, the state of Delaware gets the most tornadoes per 10000 km² a year. This state stands at 4.43, where Kansas "only got 3.79". My guess is that the small state of Delaware gets a couple of waterspouts that come ashore every year, and maybe an odd tornado.

When you compare significant tornado occurrence in different nations, I think the UK and Holland are not even in the top 10. Australia, Argentina, China, Bangladesh, India, Kazakhstan, Canada will be I guess!

If you want more information about tornado occurrence in Europe, please read this article from Atmospheric Research by Nicolai Dotzek: http://www.op.dlr.de/~pa4p/pdf/ecss02s.pdf

Bernard
 
Bangladesh had something like the world's deadliest tornado, which killed 1,300 people around the village of Shaturia on April 26, 1989 — as well as other events that have caused death tolls up to the hundreds (as in India).

Apparently, there was an outbreak of violent tornadoes in western Russia on June 9, 1984 — one source mentioned a "T10," which would be equivalent to F5 . . . although I'm suspicious as the construction standards in the USSR at the time weren't very high (for instance, weak earthquakes were capable of completely leveling large apartment blocks due to their poor construction) — that killed something on the order of 400 people.

Australia gets tornadoes, although people here have a hard time believing it!! If a tornado, or damaging wind event in a severe thunderstorm, occurs, it is reported as a "mini-cyclone," or "mini-tornado" which bugs the hell out of me. Nonetheless, we have had at least one confirmed violent event — an F4 near Bucca, Queensland, on 11/29/1992; there are two possible violent events that I know of, too: one at Tuggerah Lakes, New South Wales, on 9/19/1959, and another at Buladelah, NSW, on 1/1/1970. Both are suspected of being F5s, although it's based on tree damage. We have had killer tornadoes, too, the last one of which I'm aware killing two people near Sandon, Victoria on November 13, 1976, when their car was picked up and thrown — they were apparently bown out of it and thrown further. It was an F3. We get about 100 tornadoes a year that are counted, although it's quite possible that there are more that aren't because no-one sees them . . . or the storms are beyond spotting range — the most incredible-looking storm I've seen so far was out to sea at the point it appeared to be at peak intensity, and a vague hook echo was visible on radar. That was in February this year.
 
If this helps, here in Canada we get about 80 reported tornadoes a year.

But many goes unreported, here in Canada we have we have a big territory but with little people on it (average of 2.3 citizens for each square kilometer) so I'm sure that many tornadoes goes unreported here.
 
I believe we get more than 100 tornadoes annually because, like Gaetan has said, many remain unreported or unconfirmed. Most of our tornadoes are weak and brief. We got lots of country, and not enough people to witness these events. They appear so darn fast and they are weak and brief, it would not surprise me that we get more tornadoes than what is originally believed. Ontario alone has already had about 10, probably more, although some of them remain unconfirmed. *I* personally think Australia and Canada are in "competition" for second place, but that's just my opinion.
 
The English have a different definition of tornado tho, it seems to me like they count gustnados and even strong dust devils. IF you look at their tornado strength scale, it is really broad in its definition.

As for places like Bangladesh, they have zero warning (altho an American scientist is working to establish a watch/warning system), and zero shelter capability. Picture if you will the entire state of Oklahoma with wall to wall 1940 mud hut/straw/tin mobile homes (and I do mean wall to wall in the densely populated areas, of which there are many). Then add zero hard shelter availability - the best built structures are unreenforced masonry and mud brick.

A high percentage of the population works outside to plant and harvest, and so are exposed to hail and high winds and debris as well. We lost less than 100 on May 3rd 1999 in Oklahoma - the same storm may have killed 10000 in Bangladesh.
 
*I* personally think Australia and Canada are in "competition" for second place, but that's just my opinion.

I don't think there is competition there. Canada would get more large tornadoes than Australia. Australia gets alot of big summertime supercells but these as a general rule do not produce tornadoes.
Many of the tornado reports come from weaker convection in cold troughs crossing the southern parts of the country.



many remain unreported or unconfirmed

Reporting and misreporting is problem in most countries, certainly here in NZ as well.
 
"The English have a different definition of tornado tho, it seems to me like they count gustnados and even strong dust devils. IF you look at their tornado strength scale, it is really broad in its definition. "

Hello Richard,

I have to correct you on this point - since 1974 we have tried to record all vortex events that have occoured within the UK and of course this includes dust devils / gustnados etc and such like - our reseach - backed up with site investigations leads us to conclude that over the last 30 years we can expect on adverage 33 tornados per year in the UK - these are confirmed tornados!

I do belive however that further studies over the next 30 years will show that the NL in Europe to be a hot spot as well as South Germany.

Overall given the correct conditions a tornado will form anyware on the globe.
 
I don't think there is competition there. Canada would get more large tornadoes than Australia. Australia gets alot of big summertime supercells but these as a general rule do not produce tornadoes.
Many of the tornado reports come from weaker convection in cold troughs crossing the southern parts of the country.

Oh, I was just assuming that Canada and Australia had about the same amount of tornadoes. How often does that part of the world see tornadoes? It's interesting you note cold troughs being the main tornado culprit... does Australia get sea breeze front generated storms that end up becoming tornadic? Here in southern Ontario, if it's a good storm day, most of our storms will fire up along lake breeze fronts and produce a landspout/tornado or two. We don't get many supercells here.
 
Does New Zealand get violent thunderstorms/tornadic storms, and if so, how often?

I think our interpretation of 'violent' would be quite different to the US.
New Zealand being a temperate maritime region generaly has a low CAPE storm environment so thunderstorms tend to be quite weak compared to continental regions. The New Zealand tornado environment would be on par with the UK. They tend to be F0-F1 and occur mainly within cold advection.
 
This will not endear me to my fellow contemporaries - but I would personally place Australia well down the list - after Bangladesh and Argentina, and possibly Canada.

I have been chasing for well over 20 years and in that time I have seen several funnel clouds and one very weak tornado. I cannot be that unlucky, the reality is our supercell days just lack essential ingredients. We get the downbursts, large hail and flash floods, but lack the tornadoes.

When asked by non chasers about Australian tornadoes my reply is " We get more than most people realise, but far less than most of my fellow chasers believe".

In the past I blamed the lack of cold hard tornado encounters to our poor road network, our chasing countryside of trees and hills , our lack of population. These are factors, but the reality is the tornadoes are simply not here in the numbers that you get in the USA,

So what are some of the reasons ?

Lack of low level moisture - there is often moisture hanging around at surface but all often very thin and with little feed. Go to 800mb and the wind has already swung a dry NW,

Upside down moisture profiles. In spring moist middle to upper winds from the Indian Ocean drag in lots of moisture and associated middle and upper cloud bands. ( whilst the lower lowers are parched )

Weak Wind Shear profiles, following from point one low level winds are rarely strong.

No warm fronts and you rarely see an occluded front on a Aussi chart.

However none of this will stop me chasing over here. I love the rumble of thunder, the flash of lightning, the ding of hail as it hits your car, a great sunset and sinply just being on the road driving through countryside that I have not visited before.
 
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