From the June 2011 issue of Claims Magazine • Subscribe!

Spring Tornadoes Set Records

Following the surge of storms last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed statistics regarding tornadoes this year.

A total of 881 tornadoes have been documented in 2011, and at least 305 of them hit the U.S. between April 25 and 28, making it the largest outbreak in history. The previous tornado outbreak record was set in 1974 between April 3 and 4, when 148 tornadoes were recorded.

In April of this year, the NOAA estimated that there were more than 600 tornadoes, shattering the monthly record from May 2003 when there were 542.

Additionally, there have been an estimated 327 deaths resulting from tornadoes this year, making it the third deadliest tornado outbreak on record. Topping the list are the 747 tornado-related deaths in 1925 and 332 deaths in 1932.

On the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, most of the tornadoes have been categorized as EF-2 or lower, with wind gusts usually under 100 mph. Two topped the scale at EF-5, where winds reached over 200 mph, while four came in at EF-3 and 21 at EF-2, where 3-second wind gusts ranged from 136-200 mph.

While that the National Weather Service continues to assess damages in 14 states, the NOAA has compiled an aerial image database to provide a better understanding of the environmental damages that have occurred.

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