2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes in the United States

From LMT Online

In the whirlwind that is 2018, there has been a notable lack of high-end twisters.

We’re now days away from this becoming the first year in the modern record with no violent tornadoes touching down in the United States. Violent tornadoes are the strongest on a 0 to 5 scale, or those ranked EF4 or EF5.

It was a quiet year for tornadoes overall, with below normal numbers most months. Unless you’re a storm chaser, this is not bad news. The low tornado count is undoubtedly a big part of the reason the 10 tornado deaths in 2018 is also vying to be a record low.

While we still have several days to go in 2018, and some severe weather is likely across the South to close it out, odds favor the country making it the rest of the way without a violent tornado.

If and when that happens, it will be the first time since the modern record began in 1950.

2005 came close to reaching this mark. That year, the first violent tornado didn’t occur until Nov. 15, much later than typical for the first of the year, which tends to come in early spring.

This year’s goose-egg may seem to fit a recent pattern.

In simple terms, there have been down-trends in violent tornado numbers both across the entire modern period, and when looking at just the period since Doppler radar was fully implemented across the country in the mid-1990s. A 15-year average as high as 13.7 in the mid-1970s will drop to 5.9 next year.

Expanding to include all “intense” tornadoes, or those F/EF3+, this year’s 12 is also poised to set a record for the least.

Right now, the mark there is held by 1987 when there were 15 F3+ tornadoes. As with violent tornadoes, this grouping is also exhibiting both a short and long-term decrease in annual numbers, likely for similar reasons.

The causes for 2018′s lack of violent tornadoes are many, but one key factor is high pressure tending to be more dominant than normal throughout peak season this past spring. This was particularly so during April and May, when tornado numbers were below to well below normal.

Although the country ended up seeing a number of memorable tornado events after the spring, including several this fall, in most years over half of the tornadoes occur from March through May. Making up those numbers is difficult at other times of the year when ingredients for them are less likely.

Despite the downtrend in annual numbers, studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days. In that light, it is certainly possible this drought won’t last much longer.

HT/marcusn, SMC, Neo, Marcus, and Latitude

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December 27, 2018 6:03 am

“Despite the downtrend in annual numbers, studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days.”

That’s Doppler you morons!….LOL

Reply to  Latitude
December 27, 2018 9:13 am

yep. Far more tornadoes are detected now than even a decade ago. Thus the recent record numbers are heavily skewed towards EF0,1, and 2s that in many cases would not have been detected years ago. My confusion is why EF3s are included in the “violent” category. They sure are violent and have killed plenty of people in the past.

The last hyperactive season we have had in the US was in 2011. That was the year Joplin, MO got hit head on by a monster EF5. I remember it well since I was on I-70 in MO headed towards KC. I kept the radio in the truck on the NWS station the whole trip. At one time they reported a tornado on the ground near Columbia behind me and one just ahead of me near Boonville. I pulled in at a rest area when the hail got to dime size and then I heard the siren. Didn’t see the actual storm because it was rain wrapped but I knew it was close.

December 27, 2018 6:08 am

…no violent tornadoes… See? We TOLD you!!! Antrhopogenic global warming will cause extremes in the patterns of weather. In this case an extreme of lacking tornadoes. Prepare for thy doom! As the heightened CO₂ levels continue to advance unabated, we can expect even more mind-numbing extremes to cause mental harm. Woe, woe, woe! GoatGuy

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  GoatGuy
December 27, 2018 1:41 pm

Yes, and an economic disaster because it is killing the storm chasing business.

We’re all gonna die!

Reply to  GoatGuy
December 27, 2018 4:41 pm

The weather is getting extremely moderate.

R Shearer
December 27, 2018 6:14 am

Many tornadoes become violent after they drink. Fortunately, the 12 step program was effective this year.

December 27, 2018 6:17 am

Within a few years tornadoes will become “a very rare and exciting event.”

“Children just aren’t going to know what tornadoes are.”

Ron Long
Reply to  Dave Burton
December 27, 2018 7:03 am

So, Dave, how will we explain what “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” means?

Reply to  Ron Long
December 27, 2018 8:21 am

That will refer to a rare occurrence when ‘The Rains in Africa’ turn to ‘Dust in the Wind’.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
December 27, 2018 8:30 am

Or “It never rains in southern Ca”

Reply to  Derg
December 27, 2018 11:36 am

The girls only warn you

G Karst
Reply to  Dave Burton
December 27, 2018 8:45 am

Not to worry, as cooling begins, tornados and intensity will increase, again. Along with other woes. GK

AGW is not Science
Reply to  Dave Burton
December 27, 2018 11:58 am

Wait for it, Dave, someday we’ll get the “official” news – “Fewer violent tornadoes are “consistent with” global warming.” (Which, of course, is true – warmer climate means LESS violent weather, NOT more violent weather, as the reduction of temperature differential between the poles and the equator reduces atmospheric turbulence, it doesn’t increase it.)

BUT they’ll have to wait until they can tie the reduction in “violent tornadoes” with some dire consequence, like the migration of some “cute” or “cuddly” insect or bird being “dependent on” violent tornadoes for their migration to their “traditional breeding grounds” or some such nonsense. Once they have such a “bad” news angle, they’ll trumpet it from the rooftops. Until then, crickets, of course.

OR, maybe they’ll just use the data upside down, and announce an upward trend which is of course OUR fault, and deny any attempts to access the data or algorithms they used to reach their BS conclusions and announce that their conclusions represent the “consensus” of the “leading” scientists.

Jeff Alberts
December 27, 2018 6:30 am

There are non-violent tornadoes?? Who knew?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 27, 2018 6:52 am

I’m against ascribig human characteristics to inanimate objects. Astronomers are particularly bad about this. To hear some of them talk, you would think galaxies and black holes have free will.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 27, 2018 6:56 am

Small consolation to Pella, and Marshalltown. Those tornadoes were non violent!


Reply to  Chris4692
December 27, 2018 8:50 pm

I work in downtown Des Moines and was driving home from work that day in complete awe of the cloud formations I was seeing. Frankly speaking, the tops of the clouds were absolutely beautiful. I had no idea what the undersides of those beauties were like as I couldn’t see past buildings and tree lines.

It was only after I got closer to home, a much more rural setting, where I finally considered that those clouds that I was enjoying sooooo much were bringing other people horrors… including my sister in Bondurant. There’s video on facebook of the Bondurant tornado (only 115 mph winds) where it was on the ground with her kids at home, she (my sister) watching from the Eastern edge of Ankeny knowing she couldn’t get there and her husband on the Southern edge of Bondurant thinking he could get there only to be stopped due to stalled traffic.

A couple of friends who live South of Pella made out ok, and a cousin who had just started work in Marshalltown filmed some incredible minutes on her cellphone.

That ornery old girl that rolled thru Pella was pretty violent even if only 144 mph and Marshalltown folks may have a similar opinion.

That being said, I get that F4 and F5’s are the buggers that are named violent, but having experienced way too many of them in my lifetime (nearly 50 years), I’ve yet to see a non-violent tornado.

R Shearer
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
December 27, 2018 6:56 am

They are a kinder and gentler variety, like those engaged in Muslim outreach.

Gary Pearse
December 27, 2018 6:39 am

As they have been trying to do with the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes (up to 6 or 7 categories) after the 13yr drought in landfalling ones, watch and you will see something proposed for tornadoes.

Oh I hate myself for the type of thinking that has become automatic for me!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
December 27, 2018 6:41 am

…they will stall out more and be wetter

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Latitude
December 27, 2018 7:44 am

O yeah, I hate them for their kind of thinking, too.

Dave O.
December 27, 2018 6:57 am

I’m supplying a narrative for the warmists to latch onto: The wind turbines have slowed the wind down enough to prevent the formation of extreme tornadoes.

December 27, 2018 6:59 am

studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days.

What studies? My look at the data shows no trend.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Chris4692
December 27, 2018 7:25 am

There was a study discussed here on WUWT. The claim was that there were fewer tornadoes but when they did occur those storms produced clusters of them.

Jesse Fell
December 27, 2018 6:59 am

There never appears to have been a connection between tornados and global warming, so this is nothing new. Scientists are looking for a connection, but haven’t found one.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Jesse Fell
December 27, 2018 7:28 am

It is always implied that there is a connection. Scientists rarely speak-up and point-out the facts when someone asserts a connection.

The latest connection is that tornadoes now travel in “packs” or come in “clusters” due to climate change.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
December 27, 2018 7:45 am

Only discernible since doppler radar.

Richard M
Reply to  Jesse Fell
December 27, 2018 7:38 am

Since most of the warming has been in the fall/winter it’s no wonder they haven’t found anything.

Reply to  Richard M
December 27, 2018 8:45 pm

Makes sense, also most warming has be in more northern regions where there are fewer Tornadoes to start with

James Willis
Reply to  Jesse Fell
December 27, 2018 9:08 am

If there was an increase in tornadic activity you can beat there would be a link.

Alan D McIntire
Reply to  Jesse Fell
December 27, 2018 4:05 pm

Actually, there IS a connection between storms and global warming


“Recent review papers reported that many high‐resolution global climate models consistently projected a reduction of global tropical cyclone (TC) frequency in a future warmer climate, although the mechanism of the reduction is not yet fully understood. Here we present a result of 4K‐cooler climate experiment. The global TC frequency significantly increases in the 4K‐cooler climate compared to the present climate. ”


“Spectral analyses performed on the Sr content revealed a new 270-year solar-driven pattern of storm cyclicity. For the last 3000 years, this 270-year cycle defines a succession of ten major storm periods (SP) with a mean duration of 96 ± 54 yr. Periods of higher storm activity are recorded from >680 to 560 cal yr BC (SP10, end of the Iron Age Cold Period), from 140 to 820 cal yr AD (SP7 to SP5) with a climax of storminess between 400 and 800 cal yr AD (Dark Ages Cold Period), and from 1230 to >1800 cal yr AD (SP3 to SP1, Little Ice Age). Periods of low storm activity occurred from 560 cal yr BC to 140 cal yr AD (SP9 and SP8, Roman Warm Period) and from 820 to 1230 cal yr AD (SP4, Medieval Warm Period).”

So those who want to “fight” global warming implicitly want more people to die in violent storms.

Jesse Fell-
Reply to  Alan D McIntire
December 27, 2018 4:22 pm

First of all, tornados, which is what we were talking about I thought, are not tropical cyclones. And, I’ve gotten the impression from what I admit is desultory reading in the literature, that climate scientists do not believe global waming will lead to an increase in the number of tornados. It doesn’t appear to have led to such an increase yet.

As for cycles of storm activity: the existence of such cycles would not rule out global warming as another determinant of the number and strength of tropical cyclones. The climate does not pick a forcing to be influenced by and ignore the rest.

As for coldness in the atmosphere leading to more tropical storms – why then do we (in the northern hemisphere) have tropical storms in the summer and not in the winter?

Alan D McIntire
Reply to  Jesse Fell-
December 28, 2018 9:30 am

They’re STORMS. The energy for those storms comes from temperature DIFFERENCES, not just from high temperatures. In the case of tropical cyclones it’s the water being warmer than the air that supplies the energy.

But with global warming, the air wouldn’t be getting as cold as quickly in the fall, so the energy for tropical cyclones should be reduced (first order effect, anyway). This is counter-intuitive to folks who don’t know physics, but it’s why refrigerators consume electricity instead of produce it, and why tornadoes tend to be associated with cold-fronts.

Temperature DIFFERENCES are greatest in the spring and fall- and that’s when tornadoes are most likely.

Jesse Fell
Reply to  Alan D McIntire
December 28, 2018 11:19 am

The point of my comment is simply that the stable or declining number of tornados in the face of global warming is not a “gotcha” that shows up the climate scientists. They have not predicted that we would see more tornados as the Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm up.

While it is possible to describe both tornados and tropicsal cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons) as “storms”, their causes and dynamics are very different. The climate scientists have predicted, correctly, that as the temperature of the oceans rises, the number of hurricances that reach the level of greatest intensity will increase, although the number of tropical cyclones that occur in particular seasons is not likely to increase. This prediction applies worldwide — local conditions can also affect the number of intensity of tropical cyclones.

December 27, 2018 7:00 am

How much would you like to bet MSM’s reporting of this event, should they choose to report it at all, will attribute the drop in tornadic activity to the drop in CO2 emissions in the USA?

December 27, 2018 7:10 am

I found this on Drudge early this Morning and posted the link on weatherunderground Jeff Masters tornado blog.

Wonder how long it will stay up?

Reply to  Dipchip
December 27, 2018 7:15 am

It was up for 90 minuets.

December 27, 2018 7:16 am

It was up for 90 minuets.

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Dipchip
December 27, 2018 7:39 am

That is a lot of dancing!

December 27, 2018 7:16 am


this is bad news….

which I knew was about to happen.

Prepare yourselves for the biggests drought since the Dust Bowl drought 1932-1939

Reply to  henryp
December 27, 2018 7:24 am

Which was followed by 35 years of a cooling trend:https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/diagnostics.html

Don Perry
December 27, 2018 7:23 am

The warmists will say nothing about this reduction in violent tornadoes, but watch what happens when we have an average year for them. There will be screeching, wailing and major headlines about the increase in violent tornadoes. They did the same with hurricanes after the long hiatus of major hurricanes not hitting the US.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Don Perry
December 27, 2018 8:56 am

It won’t take an average year…just one destructive outbreak or an EF5 or something.

December 27, 2018 7:26 am

The Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s was one of the worst environmental disasters of the Twentieth Century anywhere in the world. Three million people left their farms on the Great Plains during the drought and half a million migrated to other states, almost all to the West. But the Dust Bowl drought was not meteorologically extreme by the standards of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

December 27, 2018 7:32 am

don’t trust any set but the one that you have verified yourself….
click on my name to read my rfeport to note that it has already started cooling, globally.

James Clarke
December 27, 2018 7:33 am

For whatever reason, there has been a slight decrease in the temperature difference between the equator and the poles. Basic meteorology 101 dictates that this would result in a slight decrease in severe weather in the mid-latitudes, exactly like we have been observing. The notion that AGW would result in more severe weather is, and always has been, completely incorrect and stupid.

Unfortunately, the reduction in the temperature difference is mostly likely a natural, cyclical phenomenon, with just a small contribution from human endeavors. As the NAO moves into its cold phase, we will likely see an increase in the temperature difference from the North Pole to the Equator in the years ahead, and the tornadoes will return to near historical levels.

Ian W
Reply to  James Clarke
December 27, 2018 10:57 am

The Jetstream’s have become more (some would say extremely) latitudinal so the mixing of the atmosphere from tropics to pole as been accelerated. This will naturally result in a reduction of the difference in temperatures of equatorial and polar air.

Non Nomen
December 27, 2018 7:39 am

Worse than we thought.
We are already working on moving the goalposts and are just adjusting, homogenizing and pasteurizing the data.
Sent to you by
Winston Mickey Mann-Smith,
the bloke at
Ministry of Truth
World wide #1 in manipulation.

December 27, 2018 7:43 am

james clarke

I say that the differential between the poles has not been changing
which in effect is the problem of ‘no weather’

it happens after every two Hale cycles

Peta of Newark
December 27, 2018 7:47 am

Wrong. No. Fail. Bad.
There are more Angels on My pin than yours – according to Jeff Masters on his blog as he passes on the Angel Counting Buck to the Uni of Florida…

The number of strong (EF2 and EF3) and violent (EF4 and EF5) tornadoes in the U.S. has remained roughly constant in recent decades. However, tornadoes have been coming in bigger bunches with individual tornadoes being wider and staying on the ground longer, resulting in an increase in the destructive power of U.S. tornadoes averaging 5.5% per year since 1994, said Dr. James Elsner of Florida State University

How long before any one or more of these muppets ‘pulls a gun’?
Ooops, my bad again – they already are doing.
The weapon of choice these days being = tax

December 27, 2018 7:59 am

Obviously a lack of certain weather events doesn’t make for sensational news. We are all to aware of that and the negative effect it’s had on the climate debate. I write debate but then the consensus is in and anyone debating at this point is being an obstructionist or worse. Reminds me of my college days in the mid to late 1980’s as an political outlier on campus. Hopefully we will experience the same collapse of those who appeared so strong.

Gary Pearse
December 27, 2018 8:02 am

At the bottom end of this cooling is where they began chronicling the dangerous warming. It was just a rebound back to 1940 level temperatures by 1998 and then a plateau.

Brad Tittle
December 27, 2018 8:41 am

BUT BUT BUT… There was an tornado in Port Orchard, WA just a 2 weeks ago

IN DECEMBER… Clearly global climate change must be involved.


Reply to  Brad Tittle
December 27, 2018 10:18 am

I’ve got a friend on FB insinuating that because this storm in MSP today went from snow to rain that this is the new normal. I have been a meteorologist for 34yrs, lived here all my life. This happens regularly. The MSP annual snowfall trends show steady growth over the century. I wished him a happy new year and told him I’m not playing in these reindeer games. He’s your typical shrieking environmentalist lefty.

December 27, 2018 9:16 am

BTW there was only one “violent” tornado in all of N. America this year. They had an EF4 in Manitoba. That was the first “violent” tornado reported in Canada since 2007 when an EF5 was recorded.

December 27, 2018 9:50 am

This will go unmentioned by the mainstream media who have been telling the masses that tornados are getting stronger and more frequent, but when the inevitable cooling begins, tornado numbers and intensity will increase again and provide fresh fodder for them to scream about the dangerous effects of global warming and fossil fuels.

Robert MacLellan
December 27, 2018 10:24 am

Does this tie in with the study mentioned in this article about reductions in measured wind speeds?
The study claims up to 30% reduction in measured wind speeds, seems likely that less wind= less energy= less chance for tornados.

December 27, 2018 10:39 am

All these reductions in tornados, wind speeds and so on are the result of several concerned nations implementing carbon taxes. Everyone knows that.
Watermelons are way ahead in this game.

December 27, 2018 2:00 pm

This is exactly what anthropogenic global warming theory predicted. We told you so years ago. It will cause extremes in the patterns of weather. In a few days we will tell you why it is catastrophic that there is a lack of tornadoes. We just have to get the angle right before saying anything. Meanwhile continue to live in terror.

December 27, 2018 4:26 pm

James Clark got it right. Its just normal, a small variation that’s all.

But never mind, soon something like what is happening in South West Australia. will happen elsewhere. Here we have our normal movement of the winds, from the South, cool, to West, moderate, and presently North, where we get both the Monsoon laden air, then heat is added to it as it crosses the big inland desert, and we get up to 40 C plus weather.

This one is a bit unusual in that its slow moving, but go back and its just what we always get this time of the year.

But our National broadcaster is loving it. First colour the map of Australia a bright Red. Then the use of all the usual emotion laden words and we have a situation that according to them is Catostrophioc.

Problem is peoples memories are too short, and their panic is noted by our present crop of Politicians.

The only good thing is that conditions are perfect for a failure of the two States with too many renewables, Victoria and South Australia, so here is hoping for a black or brown out of the Power system to make the people realise what is really happening.



meteorologist in research
Reply to  Michael
December 28, 2018 7:39 pm

Michael – do you know a lot about tornado formation?

December 27, 2018 8:18 pm

The scare about increased tornado, hurricane, floods volcano activities is all due to the advent of television. To-ay, when floods or any climate disaster hits Bangladesh, people in New York see it immediately on their TV. Of course people get the impression of increased climate disasters.
How many people know that a hurricane killed 8,000 people in Galveston, Texas in the early 1900? Or a tsunami killed 300 plus in 1943 in Hawaii?
There was no television then.

meteorologist in research
December 28, 2018 6:33 pm

2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes in the United States

Is it climate change?

Lloyd Martin Hendaye
December 29, 2018 6:51 am

As overland water-spouts, tornadoes result from hot air rising in swirling vortices as cooler upper cells suck moisture higher. If Great Plains or other topographic features’ surface temperatures are relatively low, the cool-hot strato-surface differential is insufficient to induce tornadoes.

In other words, this season’s anomalous lack of overland wind-vortices reflects lower continental surface temperatures due to marginal yet widespread global cooling. From GISS/NASA to the UN IPCC, we await disinterested klimatistas’ studious comment on this phenomenon.

December 31, 2018 4:20 pm

With AGW; the winds are going to get Windier, and the rains are going to get Rainier.

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