Tornadoes can be scary, damaging, and destructive. Certain areas in the US experience more tornadoes than others, and some areas experience very destructive ones.
Are you curious about which state experiences the most tornadoes? Or perhaps you’re hoping to avoid the locations that experience too many tornadoes. This article will tell you everything you need to know about tornadoes across the country.
It will look at which states have the most tornadoes each year, and the impact that tornadoes have on these states. It will touch on the loss of life, financial damage, and physical damage. Read on to learn more!
Which State Has The Most Tornadoes?
Texas has the highest number of tornadoes each year. On average, they get 155 tornadoes every year. This is the highest number of tornadoes in the United States.
In Texas, you will find that the highest number of tornadoes happen in the Red River Valley. This is located in the North of Texas. Kansas is the next state on the list, experiencing an average of 96 tornadoes per year.
One big reason for this is that Texas and Kansas are located in what is referred to as ‘Tornado Alley’. This is the area where tornadoes occur the most in the world.
It is the name for the region that lies between Central Texas and South Dakota. Tornado Alley also touches upon other states in the United States. It spans South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
What Damage Do Tornadoes Cause In The US?
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), tornadoes in the US caused around $228 million in damage in 2021.
However, numbers can vary wildly from year to year! For instance, in 2011, the US experienced a particularly active tornado season that left a trail of destruction, resulting in around $10 billion in damages. This made it one of the most expensive tornado seasons in the history of the country. It just goes to show that when it comes to tornadoes, you never know what kind of damage they may bring.
In the US, there are over 80 deaths and 1500 injuries that occur due to tornadoes on average each year. In most cases, these deaths occur because people do not follow the guidelines correctly.
This is often because these people do not believe that the tornado will hit their area. While Texas is the state that gets the most tornadoes, it is not Texas that experiences the most tornado related deaths (see also ‘Tornado Season In Texas: Detailed Guide‘).
In 2012, 12 people were killed in Kentucky, with the US experiencing 68 deaths overall. A large proportion of deaths that occur as a result of a tornado occur on mobile home sites.
It is believed that tornadoes are attracted to these parks, however, this is not the case. Mobile homes have very poor construction, and they are not very good at providing protection during these events.
The danger of living in a mobile home during a tornado is made clear by a tornado that occurred in Kansas in 1991. This tornado hit the town, and it hit a lot of homes and businesses.
84 homes and 14 businesses were destroyed in the tornado, but no one was killed or seriously injured. This tornado then swept through a mobile home park where there were 223 trailers.
200 residents escaped to the tornado shelter and survived, while 13 of the 23 who remained in their trailers died in the tornado.
The strength of the tornado is classified on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. On this scale, the strength of the tornado is classified from the weakest tornado to the strongest. The weakest is known as an EF0 tornado, and the strongest is known as an EF5 tornado.
These classifications are made based on the damage that a tornado causes to the infrastructure and property in the area. If you experience an EF0 tornado, then you should expect there to be winds of a speed between 65 and 85 miles per hour. You can expect minor structural damage and tree limbs that are broken
If you experience an EF5 tornado, you should expect wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. This is likely to destroy homes that are well built and other buildings.
You can get a tornado that is classified as EFU, which stands for unknown. This is when there is no known damage to infrastructure that occurs.
Where Do The Most Damaging Tornadoes Occur?
Areas with a high population density and significant infrastructure, such as urban and suburban areas, are particularly susceptible to the destructive force of tornadoes. It’s no surprise then that densely populated regions in Tornado Alley, a central and southern Great Plains area prone to tornadoes, are at the highest risk.
When a tornado strikes, cities, and towns in the direct path of the storm are hit the hardest. Unfortunately, these urban areas are often the most vulnerable to the destructive impacts of tornadoes. With high rises, dense housing, and a vast array of infrastructure, the damage to these areas can be catastrophic.
It’s worth noting that tornadoes can also wreak havoc on rural areas. In some cases, rural communities may have fewer resources to prepare for or respond to severe weather events, making them just as susceptible to damage from a tornado. In fact, some of the deadliest tornadoes in US history have occurred in rural areas.
One example is the Tri-State tornado that occurred in a rural area in 1925. It left behind a trail of destruction that spanned three states – Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The tornado was rated an EF5, the most severe rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with wind speeds estimated to have reached a mind-boggling 300 miles per hour. It caused the deaths of 695 people and injured over 2,000 others, leaving entire communities reeling in its aftermath.
The Tri-State Tornado is a stark reminder that no one is safe from the devastating impact of tornadoes, whether they live in rural or urban areas.
Tornadoes Across The US
If you’re like me, then you will likely associate tornadoes with the United States. This is because the US has more tornadoes each year than any other country. On average, the United States will experience 1253 tornadoes every year.
Tornadoes in the United States are one of the biggest natural disasters. Over half of the tornadoes that the US experiences occur between April and June.
Texas and Kansas are the two states that have the highest number of tornadoes each year. They have very similar amounts between them.
When Do Tornadoes Commonly Occur?
Most tornadoes in the US happen between April and June. May is the month that has the highest number of tornadoes. There are an average of 272 tornadoes recorded in May in the United States, and 189 on average in April.
During these summer months, it is likely that these tornadoes will occur anywhere in the country. Tornadoes thrive in the heat and humidity, so the summer creates the perfect conditions for these tornadoes.
In the fall, tornado activity is more likely to occur on the Gulf Coast. During the winter months, the Southern states of the United States are more likely to experience tornadoes than the rest of the country.
What Is The Most Destructive Tornado In Texas History?
In 1953, a tornado hit Texas which is known to be the most destructive tornado in history. This occurred in May 1953. It began in Lorena and started to make its way toward Waco.
This tornado was classified as an F5 tornado, and it spread through Waco very quickly, causing a large amount of destruction in its path. It traveled from the South of Waco to the North.
This tornado caused so much damage, injury, and death. 600 homes and 1000 other buildings were destroyed by the tornado, and 2000 vehicles were completely destroyed.
This tornado caused 114 deaths and there were a huge amount of injuries, too. 597 people were injured in the experience. There are lots of other very damaging tornadoes that have happened in Texas. In May 1902, a tornado in Texas killed 114 people.
This tornado caused 250 injuries. This tornado tore through the country, reaching Berclair just before 4pm. It then traveled 15 miles through Goliad, heading toward the Southwest.
Which Other States Have High Numbers Of Tornadoes?
While Texas and Kansas have the highest number of tornadoes in the United States, other countries also suffer from a large number of tornadoes.
Florida experiences very high numbers of tornadoes. 66 tornadoes occur in Florida on average each year. The Sunshine State is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes during the peak of hurricane season, which typically lasts from June to November. The warm, humid air during this time creates unstable atmospheric conditions that are ripe for tornado formation.
Oklahoma is home to a lot of tornadoes (see also ‘When Is Tornado Season in Oklahoma?‘). This state is in between Texas and Kansas, so it is not surprising that they, like these other two states, experience a lot of tornadoes too.
The shape of this state means that they are not as badly hit as the other two, but they do experience very high numbers of tornadoes on average. There are an average of 62 tornadoes per year in this area.
On average, Nebraska experiences 57 tornadoes per year. This state is at the top of tornado alley, so it gets hit by a large number of tornadoes.
While it doesn’t seem to experience as many tornadoes as Texas and Kansas, this state often sees just as much damage as these states that is caused by tornadoes.
The state of Illinois sees an average of 54 tornadoes each year. Picture this: Illinois is like a battleground where warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cooler, drier air from the north collide, resulting in an intense and volatile weather environment that’s perfect for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
And with the flat terrain of Illinois, these storms can move at breakneck speed, packing a powerful punch that increases the probability of tornadoes forming and wreaking havoc on communities.
Texas is the state that experiences the largest number of tornadoes each year. A close second to this is the state of Kansas. The highest risk for tornadoes occurs in the summer months, between April and June each year. The area spanning from Central Texas to South Dakota is known as ‘Tornado Alley’, where tornadoes occur the most in the world.
While densely populated urban areas are most susceptible to damage, rural areas are also at risk. It is important to be prepared for tornadoes and follow guidelines to minimize the risks of injuries and fatalities.
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