Lack of killer tornadoes sets new U.S. record - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Lack of killer tornadoes sets new U.S. record

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The weather of 2012 will forever be known for severe drought, record-breaking heat and Super Storm "Sandy." It will also be known for the lack of tornadoes and tornado deaths.

According to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma there were 936 tornadoes in the United States in 2012 which is the fewest twisters in a single year since 1954 and well below the yearly average of 1300.

In 2012, there were also 68 tornado deaths which is below the average of 91 deaths. Just one year earlier in 2011, we had one of the most active and deadly tornado years on record with 1692 tornadoes and 533 deaths. We have also set a new record for the number of consecutive days without a tornado related death. We are at 201 days and counting. The old record was 197 days from August 1986-February 1997.

Experts believe the extreme heat and drought that encompassed much of the nation's heartland last year was the main factor. Lacking were the necessary ingredients of moisture and strong winds aloft. Instead, we had a dome of high pressure across much of the nation with little moisture and sluggish winds aloft.

2012 did start out with a busy February and early March including the Harrisburg, Illinois EF-4 rated tornado which killed six people. That was the deadliest tornado in Illinois since Utica outside of Chicago in 2004. The United States ranks #1 in the world for the number of tornadoes each year. Ironically, Canada had more tornadoes than us in 2012.

Statistics courtesy of NOAA and


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