Record-setting run of tornadoes in the US may be ending

June 6, 2019


Hundreds of tornadoes have been reported across America in the last two weeks as people have sought shelter from Redding, California to the United States Capitol and Dayton, Ohio. The New York Times reports that the record-setting spell of severe storms appears to be coming to an end.

As the dust begins to settle, the damage across the nation becomes clearer. There are at least seven deaths, scores of injuries and many communities starting the rebuilding process.

Northwestern Indiana saw some of the severe weather during these two weeks and an EF-2 tornado in Pendleton, Indiana was one of at least eight that hit the state on Memorial Day. The small Indiana town is recovering from dozens of downed trees, damage to homes and some minor injuries, but nobody was killed.

The bout of severe storms pushed the United States to a total of 38 tornado-linked deaths so far this year, the highest count since 2014. Of the roughly 300 tornado or severe thunderstorm watches forecasters have issued this year, more than 40% have come since May 17.

Climate change is increasingly linked to extreme weather, but historical data about tornadoes is limited. This makes it challenging for researchers to determine whether rising atmospheric temperatures are causing more tornadoes.

Researchers have found that tornadoes are increasingly clustered in short periods of time. This leaves communities little time to rebuild before being at risk for another severe storm.

Communities like Pendleton struggle to find the resources to recover from a tornado like the one they had on Memorial Day, so the risk of more than one could be devastating for Pendleton residents.

Record-setting run of tornadoes in the US may be ending


Although this series of storms may be ending, the increase in the number of severe storms may be linked to climate change.