NORMAN, Okla. – The preliminary count of tornadoes in 2016 based on local storm reports from the National Weather Service is running well below the 10-year average, according to data from the Storm Prediction Center.
Through July 14, there have been 755 reports of tornadoes. Data from 2005-2015 shows the average number of tornado reports through that date is 1,058. Preliminary counts of tornadoes are almost always higher than what actually occurred because some tornadoes are initially reported more than once. Still, you get an idea of how much below average tornado activity is this year.
WHNT News 19 reached out to Bill Bunting, Chief of Forecast Operations at the Storm Prediction Center, to get his insight an expertise on this issue:
“The 2016 year to date continues the trend we’ve seen since 2012, which is a well-below normal number of estimated tornadoes (since May/Jun/July are still preliminary) for the year to date. While these numbers might lead one to believe it hasn’t been an active year, the reality is that we’ve seen deadly tornadoes across the south and Mid-Atlantic states with substantial damage in several other locations. The numbers may be interesting from a statistical perspective, but they certainly don’t tell the whole story! One other aspect of the year to date estimated total is that it has no bearing on what is likely to occur for the remainder of the year. One only has to think back to late 2015, when December ended with a number of deadly tornadoes after a relatively low fatality total for the previous eleven months.”
Only one tornado has occurred in the Huntsville National Weather Service County Warning Area in 2016. An EF-2 tornado touched down in Morgan County, causing damage in Priceville on March 31. The tornado had max winds of 115 miles per hour and was 200 yards wide. The twister was on the ground for 8.5 miles.