Recap of April 27-28 tornado outbreak

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AP Photo, Tuscaloosa, AL

A tidal wave of information is available on the web and in the media surrounding what has become the deadliest tornado outbreak since the Great Depression (surpassing even the 1974 Super Outbreak).  There are so many sources and information, especially with regards to numbers, that it is nearly impossible to keep up, or even to know who or what is right.  In that vein, I have re-printed below a news article from the horse’s mouth – NOAA.  Though it was released just yesterday afternoon, there are already a couple pieces of information that are outdated. I have updated those if I have a reputable source (updates in red). This is being published at 1pm Saturday, April 30.

April 2011 tornado information
Updated, April 29, 2011, 4:50 p.m. EDT

April 27-28, 2011, tornado outbreak statistics

NOAA’s preliminary estimate is that there were 211 tornadoes on April 27-28, 2011.

  • During the multi-day period of April 26-28, The National Weather Service (NWS) estimates there were a total of 288 tornadoes.
  • NWS issued outlooks five days in advance, watches hours in advance, and tornado warnings with an average lead time of 24 minutes. NWS issued warnings for more than 90 percent of these tornadoes.
  • The largest previous number of tornadoes on record in one event occurred from April 3-4, 1974, with 148 tornadoes.

Current media reports indicate the death toll is 318 337 people, and rising. This makes the event the third second deadliest tornado outbreak on record [CNN].

  • The April 27-28, 2011, tornado outbreak is the deadliest since the March 21, 1932 March 18, 1925 tornado outbreak that had 332 747 fatalities [CNN].
  • Based on combined NOAA, historical research records and current fatality estimates, the April 27-28, 2011, tornado outbreak ranks 6th in single day total fatalities in the United States history. The historic research records extend back to 1680.
  • The deadliest single tornado on record was the Tri-State Tornado (Mo., Ill., Ind.) on March 18, 1925, when 695 died.
  • Based on combined NOAA and historical research records, the deadliest single day for tornadoes was March 18, 1925, with 747 fatalities across 7 states (including the Tri-State Tornado).

Month of April 2011 (and record monthly) tornado statistics

NWS’s preliminary estimate is that there have been more than 600 tornadoes thus far during the month of April 2011.

  • The previous record number of tornadoes during the month of April was 267 tornadoes set in April 1974.
  • The previous record number of tornadoes during any month was 542 tornadoes set in May 2003.
  • The average number of tornadoes for the month of April during the past decade is around 160.

2011 Year-to-Date (and record annual) statistics

NWS’s preliminary estimate is that there have been 835 tornadoes so far this year.

  • The previous yearly record number of tornadoes was set in 2004 with 1,817.
  • May is historically the most active month for tornadoes.

Tornado reports for April 2011 – more than 600
“Rotation tracks” for April 27, 2011 – tracks of storms that were rotating (not necessarily producing tornadoes).  Click here for more information.

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