An estimated 500 tornado related deaths puts 2011 in the top 10 deadliest storm seasons on record.So far, this year ranks eighth in total number of deaths:
1925 — 794
1936 — 552
1917 — 551
1927 — 540
1896 — 537
1953 — 519
2011 — 500
Official tornado warnings were non-existent before 1948, so this year is the second deadliest since weather warnings were broadcast to threatened residents.
While the Joplin tornado is decidedly tragic, the tri-state tornado of 1925 is the deadliest ever recorded in the United States. During the single storm, 695 people were killed in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
How 2011 stacks up to the rest of the 21st Century:
- U.S. tornadoes so far in May: More than 100.
- May tornado average in the U.S. during the last decade: 298.
- May tornado record: 2003 — 542.
- 2011 tornadoes so far: About 1,000.
- Annual average number of tornadoes per year during past decade: 1,274.
- Record number in last 10 years: 2004 — 1,817 .
Source for number of deaths: Harold Brooks, research meteorologist, National Severe Storms centre, Norman, Okla. The National Weather Service began formally archiving tornado data in 1950; earlier totals are based on various historical accounts.
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