U.S. Could Have a Quiet Tornado Year
Compared with last year, when nearly 1,700 tornadoes killed 553 Americans, few destructive twisters have hit the U.S. in 2012. Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, says that this year may set a new record low. Approximately 750 tornadoes have been reported this year, compared with approximately 1,500 at this time last year. According to Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, by this time of the year an average of 1,200 tornadoes have been reported. Carbin says the contrast shows how variable tornado counts are from one year to the next. The previous record low was set in 1987, when 1,013 tornadoes were reported. Meteorologist Mike Smith of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions in Wichita, Kansas, attributes the quiet tornado year to the same weather pattern that caused the devastating drought, a large area of high pressure over the West Coast and the Rockies that prevented storms from moving into the central region of the U.S.