For the first time ever, we are days away from this becoming the first year in the modern record with no violent tornadoes touching down in the United States.
That means no tornadoes were rated EF4 or EF5 this year. It also means the 10 tornado deaths in 2018 are competing for the record low.
Why the downward trend?
The causes for the lack of violent tornadoes in 2018 are many. One key factor, however, is that high pressure tended to be more dominant than normal throughout peak tornado season in the spring.
Despite the downward trend in annual tornado numbers, studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days. With that in mind, it is possible this downward trend won’t last much longer.
Be prepared anyway
So what to do? Be prepared anyway. Here's how:
- Know your area’s tornado risk. In the U.S., the Midwest and the Southeast have a greater risk for tornadoes.
- Know the signs of a tornado, including a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud; an approaching cloud of debris; or a loud roar—similar to a freight train.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system.
- Pay attention to weather reports.
- Identify and practice going to a safe shelter in the event of high winds, such as a safe room built using FEMA criteria or a storm shelter built to ICC 500 standards. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.
- Prepare yourself and your shelter. Be tornado-ready.