Counting Tornadoes…

If you watched the news enough during the month of April, then you easily recall hearing about all the tornado outbreaks. In fact, the preliminary tornado count, per The Storm Prediction Center was about 875. That’s right, 875 tornado reports in the month of April alone! But, were there really that many tornadoes last month? The answer is simple… NO!

So, was April as busy as we made it out to be? That answer is different… and quite easy. YES! It was! So, then what happened? There weren’t 875 tornadoes last month, heck there weren’t even 500 tornadoes last month. The answer is simple, many of the tornadoes were counted twice, 3 times, 4 times..maybe even 5 times! So, how many tornadoes were there?

  • Eyewitness Reports are the least accurate/reliable because long-lived tornadoes like those in this outbreak tend to be reported multiple times. This artificially increases the number of tornadoes.
  • NOAA’s Estimate is based on expert analysis of the Eyewitness Reports compared with the details coming out of the Tornadoes Surveyed by NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFO). It is the statistic NWS uses in public announcements since it is the best estimate at the time. The numbers will change (typically down) as WFOs complete their storm surveys.
  • Tornadoes Surveyed by WFOs is the latest confirmed number of tornadoes surveyed by the National Weather Service

According to the National Weather Service, there were about 500 preliminary tornado reports during the last week of April, but after surveying the damage paths, there turned out to only be about 200 reports. Still a lot, but not nearly as high as what the preliminary reports showed. The rest of the month is still being tabulated and may take a few months, but the end result will likely not be nearly as high as what the preliminary reports are saying.

-Damon

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