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Alabama Records a Near Normal Tornado Season in 2018

There were 46 tornadoes documented in Alabama last year. The 30 Year Tornado Average (1989-2018) is 47. The record number of tornadoes in a year was back in the 2011, when 145 tornadoes touched down. This extreme number was due to tornado outbreaks on April 15th and on April 27th. Fortunately, no Alabamians lost their lives in any of the 2018 events. However, it was reported that 11 people sustained injuries. In 2018, tornado occurrences were heavily weighted toward weak tornadoes (EF0/EF1). These weak tornadoes accounted for 89% of the occurrences. Alabama did have 5 strong tornadoes (EF2/EF3). The strongest of which was the EF3 tornado on March 19th. This tornado affected Calhoun and Cleburne Counties and devastated Jacksonville State University.

Interestingly enough, the 7 years following our disastrous year of 2011 were close to normal. In fact, the average over the past 7 years was 47 tornado occurrences. From 2012 to 2018, there were 4 years slightly above normal and 3 years below. No violent tornadoes (EF4/EF5) occurred in any of these years. So far in 2019, we have already experienced 5 tornadoes. One of these instances was a direct hit on Wetumpka, Alabama. This EF2 caused numerous injuries but did not account for any loss of life.

As we approach our spring severe weather season, we designate a week in February as Severe Weather Awareness Week. This week promotes the importance of reviewing all information concerning severe weather and its associated preparedness. Severe weather, including tornadoes, can occur at any time, day or night. In addition, tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year. Please remember, knowledge is power and this power could save you or your loved ones lives!!

2018 Alabama Tornadoes Tornadoes by Year