Tornado swarm 2011: Overwhelming areal coverage

Tornado reports through June 2, 2011 (NOAA SPC)

Through yesterday, a staggering 1425 tornadoes have been reported in the United States in 2011 - the most on record to date. The map (above) shows the majority of the eastern two thirds of the United States has been victimizied. The notable exceptions are West Virginia - in a veritable “tornado hole” (0 tornadoes have been reported in the state this year compared to 38 in neighboring Virginia) and northern New England.

But it’s not only the number of tornadoes that has been impressive, but also the intensity. There have been five EF-5 tornadoes (the most violent classification), the most since 1974 and the second highest number on record.

Jeff Masters conveniently aggregated them on his blog (along with other remarkable tornado data and statistics):

1) The April 27, 2011 Neshoba/Kemper/Winston/Noxubee Counties, Mississippi tornado (3 killed, 29 mile path length.)
2) The April 27, 2011 Smithville, Mississippi tornado (22 killed, 15 mile path length.)
3) The April 27, 2011 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado (71 killed, 25 mile path length.)
4) The May 22, 2011 Joplin Missouri tornado (138 killed, 14 mile path length.)
5) The May 24, 2011 Binger-El Reno-Peidmont-Guthrie, Oklahoma tornado. (9 killed, 75 mile path length.

The National Weather Service in Taunton, Ma. has reported the strongest tornadoes which passed through Springfield, Massachusetts Wednesday will be rated at least EF-3 based on its initial damage assessment.

For more of the incredible 2011 tornado statistics, see NOAA’s tornado information page.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.


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