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By all accounts 2016 will go down as a slow year for Tornadoes according to

There have been 237 fewer tornadoes in 2016 for for the average in the United States. Regardless of the 3 months of the year that see more tornadoes than average. The U.S. tornado count in 2016 was on a pace among the lowest of the last 11 years.

Source: Dr. Greg Forbes, a severe weather expert for The Weather Channel.


Preliminary estimated U.S. tornadoes by month in 2016 (blue trace) compared to 20-year average monthly counts (red trace). Totals through Oct. 24, 2016 versus average-to-date totals are shown in the boxes to the right of the traces. (Greg Forbes/The Weather Channel, NOAA/SPC)

When looking at the number of tornado  reports – rather than estimates of actual tornadoes – received by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, only 2013 (943 total) had fewer reports through Oct. 24 over the last 11 years than this year so far.

Trends of the number of tornado reports received by SPC each year from 2005 through Oct. 24, 2016. Only 2013 had fewer reports-to-date than 2016 over the past 11 years. (NOAA/SPC)

Tornado counts are below the 20-year average in seven of 10 months so far this year.

Most recently, tornadoes in September were well below average, and October has continued that trend as well. This is despite having Hurricanes Hermine (8 confirmed) and Matthew (2 confirmed) strike the U.S. during those months. Hurricanes can produce a significant number of tornadoes, but neither Hermine or Matthew produced very many.

June so far is the most unusually quiet tornado month compared to average. The tornado count of 86 was the fewest in that month since 1988. The 20-year average number of tornadoes for June is 217.

February, March and August are the only months that featured above-average tornado activity.

Had it not been for a concentrated tornado outbreak in Indiana and Ohio on Aug. 24, that month would have finished below its 20-year average, as well.

Though the tornado pace has been slow overall for the entire year as a whole, February was an exception.

With 102 confirmed tornadoes during the month, it was the second most tornadic February dating to 1950. Only 2008 had more tornadoes during February with 147 total, which includes the record February “Super Tuesday” outbreak

U.S. Tornado Statistics Through October 24, 2016
(Source: Dr. Greg Forbes/The Weather Channel, NOAA/SPC)
* = Dr. Forbes’ estimated total; no * denotes actual number confirmed by NOAA/SPC
  Tornadoes 20-year Average
January 18 40
February 102 35
March 85 76
April 140 188
May 216 276
June 86 217
July 103 112
August 91* 72
September 36* 71
October-to-date 20* 47
2016 Year-to-date 897* 1134

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