Interactive radar: More rain moving across North Alabama
School Delays across the Tennessee Valley

No EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes recorded in Alabama since April 2011 storms

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - This year the most violent tornado in the state of Alabama was an EF-3 in Jacksonville. The state hasn't seen anything higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale since the tornado outbreak in April of 2011.

That outbreak took the lives of more than 200 Alabamians by means of 62 separate tornadoes.

This year there hasn't been a single EF-4 or EF-5 tornado in the nation.

However, WHNT News 19's Chief Meteorologist Jason Simpson said EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes aren't as common as people think.

"Those tornadoes are somewhat rare.  If you go back to maybe the 1930s and 1940s --- before we really knew that much about tornadoes at all. There may have been gaps of 3 or 4 years at a time where we didn't have them," explained Simpson. "There might've been 10 or 20 years in a row that we did have them."

A tornado's classification can be impacted by many factors including the speed it travels, the terrain it hits and the damage it causes.

1950 was the last time there were no recorded EF-4 or EF-5 tornadoes in a year's time.

Jason Simpson said records don't date further than that because there wasn't a modern classification system.

Alabama has seen a total of 46 tornadoes this year. More than 20 of them were classified as EF-0.

That doesn't go to say they didn't put anyone's safety at risk because even an EF-0 tornado could very well be dangerous.

And though North Alabama generally sees tornadoes in the springtime, Simpson said it's best to stay prepared year round.

"We can have a tornado at midnight on August 12, we can have one at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on April 3rd, and we can have one at 9pm on November 6th," Simpson added. "It doesn't matter the time of day, or time of year, they can happen!"

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