After a record breaking tornado year in 2011, 2012 has been very quiet. The national peak of tornado season is from May through July. And despite being on the verge of October, the tornado count for this year is still about 500 twisters short of average. An even more startling comparison is made when considering the devastating statistics of 2011.
Last year 1,692 tornadoes raked across the United States. April of 2011 was the most active on record. An EF 5 tornado raked through the city of Joplin, Missouri in the month of May. The Joplin tornado is now ranked the 7th most deadly tornado in recorded history. After Joplin five other EF 5 tornadoes unleashed destruction across the United States. Typically, the U.S. only averages one EF 5 tornado each year.
Almost half of all tornado reports for 2012 occurred early in the season. March and April pulled in almost 500 tornadoes alone. May, June, and July were much quieter than average. This can be largely attributed to a strong area of high pressure that stuck consistently over the plains. This high pressure area made it difficult for tornadic storms to develop.
In North Carolina the numbers are also down. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory the Tar-Heel state typically averages about 32 tornadoes each year. This year 16 “tornadoes” have been reported. Some of these reports are likely to overlap. This brings our likely North Carolina total to around 13.
Tornadoes can form any time of year in the United States but, it is likely 2012 will officially become a below average year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as of September 21st of this year, the official tornado county for 2012 is at 757 tornadoes. The average number of twisters we normally see is about 1,300.