November Tornado Outbreak

Weather and storm patterns are becoming more unpredictable.  Being prepared to work storms means preparing NOW, not “I’ll wait until …”

Check out our guest blog about the devastating tornados that swept through 12 states over the weekend. In addition, Subtropical Storm Melissa is forming east-southeast of Bermuda.

We’re here to help you be prepared to help others in the aftermath of these unpredictable storms.  Here’s the information about the November storms.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:23 PM GMT on November 18, 2013

A rare and deadly late-season tornado and severe weather outbreak blitzed the Midwest U.S. on Sunday, killing at least six people and leaving widespread significant damage.

A tornado preliminarily rated as a violent EF-4 touched down in New Minden, Illinois, east of St. Louis, carving a path of destruction three miles long, killing two people, and blowing semi trucks off of I-64. The twister was one of only twenty EF-4s to occur in the U.S. in November dating back to 1950, and was the third most northerly November EF-4 ever observed, according to data from the Tornado History Project.

The most widespread damage from Sunday’s outbreak occurred in the town of Washington (population 16,000), about 140 miles southwest of Chicago, where another powerful EF-4 tornado destroyed or heavily damaged 250 – 500 homes and an apartment complex. A northern Illinois man says he discovered mail belonging to Washington residents on his property in Channahon, about 80 miles northeast Washington, according to the (Peoria) Journal-Star. Three other tornado deaths occurred in Massac County in the far southern part of Illinois, making Sunday the deadliest November tornado outbreak in Illinois history.

November 17,2013 Storm ReportNOAA’s Storm Prediction Centerlogged 68 preliminary tornado reports, along with 412 reports of high wind gusts and 32 reports of hail. Sixteen of the wind gusts were in excess of 74 mph (hurricane strength).

A strange 2013 tornado season

Sunday’s tornado outbreak is yet another anomaly in what has been a very unusual 2013 tornado season. The top three tornado outbreaks have occurred in November, January, and October–well outside the usual spring/summer peak of tornado season:

Top Five Tornado Days of 2013

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01/29/13: 62 tornadoes

11/17/13: 68 (filtered) tornadoes, but likely to decrease once damage surveys completed

10/31/13: 42 tornadoes

05/20/13: 32 tornadoes

05/31/13: 30 tornadoes

It’s been an unusually slow severe weather season, with the 2013 preliminary tally of 818 tornadoes before Sunday the lowest year-to-date count since the extreme drought year of 1988. However, when severe weather outbreaks have come, they have been unusually destructive.

There have been five severe weather outbreaks topping $1 billion in damages this year. This is the third highest number of such disasters on record, going back to 1980. The record is shared by 2011 and 2012, with seven billion-dollar-plus severe weather outbreaks, according toNOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Prior to Sunday’s severe weather outbreak, there were seven billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S. in 2013. Five of these disasters were severe weather outbreaks–the third highest such total in history.