Despite the number of severe weather events that landed on the 2012 U.S. billion dollar disaster list, 2012 was a very slow year for tornadoes. As of February 4, the Storm Prediction Center says preliminary tornado counts for 2012 are at 936. (Compare that to 1,253, the number of tornadoes the U.S. sees on average a year.) If this number is confirmed, 2012 will be the slowest year we've seen since 2002.
Not only tornado counts, but also tornado-related deaths were at a minimum. The last time a storm claimed a life in 2012 was on June 24 when Tropical Storm Debby spawned an EF-0 in Venus, FL.
Unfortunately, this tornado-safe period ended on January 30 when a strong EF-3 tornado hit just northwest of Atlanta in Adairsville, GA, killing two people. These are the first tornado-related fatalities to be reported in 2013.
The 219-day period between these fatalities is the longest period on record for the U.S. during which no tornado-related deaths have been reported.
The Adairsville tornado was associated with a severe weather outbreak across the Southeast on January 29-30. Preliminary data suggests the event caused 64 tornadoes. If this count is confirmed, it'll make this event the second largest tornado outbreak ever to occur in the month of January:
- January 21-22, 1999 (129 tornadoes)
- January 29-30, 2013 (64 tornadoes reported)
- January 7-8, 2008 (50 tornadoes)
Image source: NOAA SPC