Jason Rosolowski got out his camera when a massive, devastating tornado started pushing through Tuscaloosa, Ala. on April 27 (Associated Press)
Year-to-date tornado count also on record pace

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center is now estimating around 600 tornadoes touched down last month, far exceeding any previous April.

The previous most active Aprils occurred in 1974 and 1957 when 404 and 407 tornadoes were estimated (after upward adjustments for reduced reporting), respectively. In other words, April 2011’s count is likely to be a remarkable 50% greater than any prior April on record.

It’s also likely (but not certain) that April 2011 will be the most active of any previous calendar month on record (since 1954). The current record holder is May, 2003 when 542 tornadoes were recorded.

Year-to-date, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center estimates there have been 881 tornadoes, a staggering 300 more than than the previous highest year on record, 2008, when 559 tornadoes were reported at this time.

SPC cautions the 2011 numbers are not yet “official” as it is still sorting through the various reports. Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at SPC, says the 881 year-to-date tornadoes and 600 tornadoes in April are just estimates but probably accurate to within 5-10 percent.