Many of us may remember the jaw-dropping images of the May 22, 2011, tornado that tore through Joplin, Mo., killing 158 people and leaving an incredible 14-mile path of destruction. But that system was only one of the record-breaking tornado events this year. Data compiled by meteorologist Jeffrey Masters shows that when deaths, damage and financial losses are considered, 2011 can be called the worst U.S. tornado year on record.
Masters, who runs the Weather Underground, a Web site that provides local forecasts, analyzes severe weather and turns raw storm data from the National Weather Service into captivating maps and data visualizations, has posted a compilation of record and near-record tornado events for 2011. Some notable stats from his post are below. A blow-by-blow description of the year’s major tornadoes, as well as a list of the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history, can be found on NOAA’s 2011 tornado review page.
* Six top-end EF-5 tornadoes hit the U.S. in 2011, tying this year with 1974 for the greatest number.
* 2011 ranks third behind 1974 and 1965 for the greatest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes. .........(more)