December tornadoes more common than you may think

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - The biggest misconception about December tornadoes is simply that they don't exist. But they do.

In a blog post, WHNT News 19 stormchaser Michael Wilhelm explains how tornadic the month really is.

In fact, Alabama has seen 127 confirmed December tornadoes over the last 64 years, making it the state's 6th most tornadic month. In fact, this week is one of the busiest.

"Between December 23 and 27, Alabama is actually second in the nation with the number of tornadoes," said Wilhelm. The state is second only to Texas, a significantly larger state, in Christmas-week tornadoes.

Two tornadoes hit the Tennessee Valley in December of 2008, one in Jackson County and another in Limestone County.

"Storms don't care about the calendar," said Wilhelm. All that matters are the atmospheric conditions. If they line up the way they need to, tornadoes and severe weather is going to happen."

While not uncommon, Wilhelm says it's a particularly bad time for the severe storms: between shoppers and people on holiday break, more people are out and about.

"One of the most dangerous places to be in this weather is in a car," said the stormchaser. "Hopefully people will be weather aware and suspend some of their plans if they need to.

The strongest tornado on record in Alabama was in December, it hit Tuscaloosa taking 11 lives and injuring more than 100 people.