April was record-setting month for tornadoes

Aug 03, 2011 By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID , AP Science Writer

(AP) -- The U.S. set a record for the most tornadoes within a month with April's deadly storms.

The final report for the month shows 753 twisters across the country, including a super outbreak on April 25-28 that killed more than 300 people in the South and Midwest.

While final death statistics are still being studied, the toll on April 27, being called the Dixie Outbreak, set a one-day record for tornado deaths since 1950. It topped the 310 deaths on April 3, 1974. Current estimates for the day range from 313 to 317 and could go higher, according to federal Storm Prediction Center data.

Follow-up studies that eliminated duplicate reports cut April's tornado total down from the preliminary count of 875 that generated widespread publicity. But the storm center says that still tops the former monthly record of 543 tornadoes in May 2003.

Atmospheric scientists noted that April had an active weather pattern across the 48 contiguous states, with strong storms moving through the center of the country, tapping into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as they matured across the mid-Mississippi Valley. Contributing to the thrashing were the La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the increase of moisture in the atmosphere caused by the warming climate.

Thomas Karl, head of the National Climatic Data Center, has cautioned against focusing on any single cause for the unusual chain of events, saying "clearly these things interconnect."

The tornado death toll for the year so far is 546, including 364 in April and another 177 in May, generally the two busiest months for twisters. That total ranks this year fourth overall in tornado fatalities, still well behind the record 794 deaths in 1925.

In addition to the high tolls in April and May, three people were killed by in June and there was one death each in February and March.

Explore further: How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Killer twisters likely among largest, strongest

Apr 29, 2011

Some of the killer tornadoes that ripped across the South may have been among the largest and most powerful ever recorded, experts suggested, leaving a death toll that is approaching that of a tragic "super ...

No link between tornadoes and climate change: US

May 23, 2011

The United States is experiencing the deadliest year for tornadoes in nearly six decades, but a top US weather expert said Monday there is no link between the violent twisters and climate change.

Fire and rain: Fed scientists point to wild April

May 10, 2011

(AP) -- April was a historic month for wild weather in the United States, and it wasn't just the killer tornado outbreak that set records, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Repeat deadly storms 'unusual but not unknown'

May 24, 2011

(AP) -- Weather experts said it's unusual for deadly tornadoes to develop a few weeks apart in the U.S. But what made the two storm systems that barreled through a Missouri city and the South within the last ...

Recommended for you

How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?

5 hours ago

About ten years after the first moon landing, scientists on earth made a discovery that proved that our home planet still holds a lot of surprises in store for us. Looking through the portholes of the submersible ...

NASA image: Volcanoes in Guatemala

9 hours ago

This photo of volcanoes in Guatemala was taken from NASA's C-20A aircraft during a four-week Earth science radar imaging mission deployment over Central and South America. The conical volcano in the center ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study links California drought to global warming

While researchers have sometimes connected weather extremes to man-made global warming, usually it is not done in real time. Now a study is asserting a link between climate change and both the intensifying California drought ...

Untangling Brazil's controversial new forest code

Approved in 2012, Brazil's new Forest Code has few admirers. Agricultural interests argue that it threatens the livelihoods of farmers. Environmentalists counter that it imperils millions of hectares of forest, ...

Autism Genome Project delivers genetic discovery

A new study from investigators with the Autism Genome Project, the world's largest research project on identifying genes associated with risk for autism, has found that the comprehensive use of copy number variant (CNV) genetic ...