This Christmas was an active one for weather - but maybe not in the way you'd expect. A powerful storm system swept across the central and eastern U.S., and in true Christmas fashion, granted wishes for a White Christmas across the Plains and Northeast. However, this same system brought severe weather--the weather equivalent of a lump of coal--to the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, where several dozen tornadoes were reported. (To date, 13 of these have been confirmed, including two EF-3s.)
While tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, they're uncommon during winter. And tornadoes on Christmas are even rarer. In fact, only eight such events have been recorded since 1950. But it is this year's outbreak that ranks as the no. 1 largest. (The previous record was set on Christmas Day of 1969, when a total of 12 confirmed tornadoes touched down.)
Even with the Christmas outbreak, the tornado count for 2012 remains low. By December 29, an average of 1524 tornadoes have usually occurred, but as of December 29, 2012, that count stands at 1114.
Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center