2011 Year of the Tornado
Originally published by: Weather Underground — December 27, 2011
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The year 2011 will forever be known as Year of the Tornado in the U.S. A series of violent severe storms swept across the Plains and Southeast U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period. The epic tornado onslaught killed 552 people and caused $25 billion in damage. “A series of violent severe storms swept across the Plains and Southeast “U.S., bringing an astonishing six billion-dollar disasters in a three-month period,” says Masters.
Three of the five largest tornado outbreaks on record hit in a six-week period, including the largest and most expensive tornado outbreak in U.S. history--the $10.2 billion dollar Southeast U.S. Super Outbreak, April 25 - 28. Even more stunning was the $9 billion late-May tornado outbreak that brought an EF-5 tornado to Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin tornado did $3 billion in damage and killed 158 people--the largest death toll from a U.S. tornado since 1947, seventh deadliest tornado in U.S. history, and the most expensive tornado in world history. In a year of amazing weather extremes, this year's tornado season ranks as the top U.S. weather story of 2011.
In general, however, the U.S. has seen a decades-long trend toward fewer tornado deaths (mostly the result of advances in detection technology and warning systems).