May Snaps Long-standing Streak for Strong Tornadoes in US

Accuweather reports:

During the month of May, the United States saw 288 preliminary reports of tornadoes, above the May average of 276 tornadoes. None of these storms were rated as stronger than an EF2, marking the first time there has not been a tornado of EF3 strength or stronger in May since 1950, when record-keeping began. There were also no deadly tornadoes in the U.S. in May, making this the first year without a killer tornado in May since 2014.

May 2021 tornadic activity was a far cry from the unprecedented pace that unfolded just two years ago. In May 2019, there was a nearly two-week stretch during which tornado activity felt nonstop in the U.S., with a record 13 straight days on which at least eight or more tornado reports were issued. That month featured 556 tornadoes in total.

This May saw the eighth fewest tornado watches on record and just eight significant (EF2+) tornadoes.

Here is the NWS Storm Prediction Center’s Twitter thread.

This thread will provide a brief summary of May 2021 severe weather.

The most remarkable stat is that no tornadoes have been rated EF3+ thus far. If this stands, this would be the first time in recorded history (since 1950) that there were no EF3+ tornadoes in May.

May severe weather reports were below normal, but tornado reports were near the 10 year average.

May 2021 had the 8th fewest tornado watches since 1970.

Thus far, only 8 EF2+ tornadoes have been confirmed in May 2021. If no additional significant tornadoes are added, this would be the 5th fewest May significant tornadoes in recorded history (1950-present).

Originally tweeted by NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) on June 10, 2021.

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Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
June 12, 2021 2:10 pm

It’s worse than we thought.™️

They’re hiding in the deep ocean… or something like that.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
June 13, 2021 4:43 am

More precisely in the deep ocean at the Bermuda Triangle…you’ve solved the mystery!

June 12, 2021 2:45 pm

The fewer tornadoes in May probably indicates less of a temperature differential between air masses in the central states..

Larry in Texas
Reply to  noaaprogrammer
June 12, 2021 5:19 pm

That’s the first thing I said to myself after reading the article. It was a cooler May than we have normally had here in Texas – very nice weather at times, too, Although pretty rainy, above-normal precipitation. The temperature differential necessary to create strong tornadoes just wasn’t there.

Reply to  noaaprogrammer
June 13, 2021 11:16 am

I think the weather is feeling the effects of the second part of Grand Minimum that the earth is entering into. Unless the weather has gone seriously wrong the relatively moderate weather and lower temperatures will continue to about 2050 just because the sun isn’t producing enough heat to keep the climate boiling. What, maybe another 15-20 years?

It is about time for the solar system to be heading into some sort of glacial maximum, rather than a hot spell.

Last edited 1 year ago by Philo
Ron Long
June 12, 2021 3:09 pm

Negative records are weather, but positive records are CAGW.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ron Long
June 13, 2021 8:12 am

Yeah, the poor ole Alarmists won’t be able to scaremonger the tornado ferocity if things keep going like this.

June 12, 2021 3:59 pm

Hard to make the claim that climate change emergencies that make tornadoes stronger aren’t happening. I’m sure they just overlooked all the EF3 tornadoes due to covid 19 lockdowns and will adjust the data accordingly when they all get back to work.

June 12, 2021 4:18 pm

Clearly we can attribute this to high compliance in social distancing and mask wearing. Henceforth, people in tornado prone areas will be required to quarantine and mask-up during tornado season.

Reply to  AWG
June 12, 2021 4:41 pm

Actually we are probably less likely to mask up and socially distance. It looks like most of the severe weather was in places where people do mask up and isolate.

June 12, 2021 5:05 pm

What was the official prediction (projection) of tornado activity for May, prior to May?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
June 13, 2021 11:25 am

I haven’t seen one. I guess they don’t pay as well as climate hot spells.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
June 13, 2021 7:06 pm

A record, plus minus 100%

Never wrong

Paul Johnson
June 12, 2021 6:12 pm

Just wait until they finish “adjusting” the data.

June 12, 2021 6:21 pm

It was just plain too cold!

Rud Istvan
June 12, 2021 7:52 pm

Much as I like the result, it still just weather, not climate.

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Rud Istvan
June 12, 2021 11:33 pm

Weather accumulated is climate. If bad weather isn’t increasing in severity or frequency, then the climate isn’t deteriorating.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
June 13, 2021 3:44 am

Wish the Alarmists understood that!

Mike McMillan
June 13, 2021 1:27 am

Monthly tornado rankings are suspect before 1990, when Doppler radars became operational.

John Endicott
Reply to  Mike McMillan
June 17, 2021 2:02 am

Only In that they’d be likely to report less tornados (IE the ones that were not observed/reported by humans but would have been picked up by doppler) prior to 1990. That current counts are low enough to rank favorably even with those earlier undercounted years in the mix speaks volumes. It’s only when you are gunning for the other end of the scale (IE “the most ever”) that the pre-1990 undercounting makes the claim suspect.

Put another way, if your count is still low even when comparing it with numbers that you know are likely undercounted, that’s still saying something. if your count is high when comparing it with numbers that you know are likely undercounted, that’s not saying much.

Mumbles McGuirck
June 13, 2021 7:05 am

I follow several tornado chasers on Facebook. This year I’ve noticed they’re mostly posting their “greatest hits”, tornadoes from past years. And they’re grumbling about how quiet the season had been

Christina Widmann
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
June 14, 2021 3:40 am

Trust human beings to grumble about less storms.

June 13, 2021 7:15 am

Look at the charts. 7 of the top 10 quietest tornado Mays happened since the year 2000. What’s Up With That? I thought worse, stronger, cataclysmic since the Evil CO2 is going through the roof. Hoist on their own petard is a phrase that comes to mind.

And the spin will be that it’s worse than we thought…

John Endicott
Reply to  McComberBoy
June 17, 2021 2:09 am

Indeed, and keep in mind, we didn’t have doppler radar prior to 1990 IE we’re better at counting them “since 2000” than we were prior to 1990 (in other words the older numbers are likely undercounting tornados, as ones that occurred outside of human observation wouldn’t be counted then, but would be picked up by doppler now) and still 7 of the top 10 quietest tornado Mays happened since 2000.

Tom Abbott
June 13, 2021 8:20 am

From the article: “May 2021 tornadic activity was a far cry from the unprecedented pace that unfolded just two years ago. In May 2019, there was a nearly two-week stretch during which tornado activity felt nonstop in the U.S., with a record 13 straight days on which at least eight or more tornado reports were issued. That month featured 556 tornadoes in total.”

One reason for the large number of tornadoes during 2019 was how the weather patterns set up that year.

If you recall, that was the year when a lot of flooding occurred. There was so much water in Oklahoma that our submarine, the Batfish, which was moored at a Historic Museum on the Arkansas river was almost washed down the river by the high water. They are just now getting it back in place.

What we had then was a weather system south of Texas which was stationary and kept pumping warm, moist air up into the central United States, and that combined with normal cold weather fronts coming in from the northwest spawned the more powerful tornadoes. You have to have clashing weather fronts to produce tornadoes and we had that for an unusually long time during 2019’s spring.

We’re looking good here in Oklahoma right now. The wheat harvest is in progress, but the heat is building. Which is not unusual for this time of year.

Yes, the tornadoes are few and far between this year. We like it like that. 🙂

Mark D
June 13, 2021 9:29 am

Tornadoes do interesting things. In 1974 my then fiance was diving to the Career Center north on Rt 68 at the edge of town. Her car was picked up and carried a block and then set down gently no damage. The next several days I helped emptied out the home of future in-laws who’s house had the front torn off and the back undamaged. Amazingly magazines weren’t even move from table tops in the remaining back half of the house yet the front of the house was gone as in GONE.

When I offered to drive my van into Xenia to collect needed items from their house my fiance said the ONG wouldn’t let us in. No problem says I. It snowed the next day and the Guardsmen were standing around in the snow blocking the roads in. I stopped in Beavercreek and picked up a dozen cups of coffee on the way to Xenia. As the Guardsmen explained I had to turn around I held out the fragrant bag off coffees on a freezing cold morning and suggested they would be so busy handing out the coffees to fellow troops they wouldn’t notice me driving by… For the next week I was the coffee man waved right in whilst others were turn away 😉

June 13, 2021 9:40 am

Joe Bastardi talks about the dearth of US tornadoes this year on his Saturday summary video (will change next Saturday). May being so cold was the cause.

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