As we enter May, the annual peak period for tornadoes and other destructive storms still looms ahead.
However, severe weather ravaging the South and the Southern Plains has already made 2020 the deadliest year for tornadoes in nine years.
At Least 73 People Have Been Killed by Tornadoes in 2020
Currently, the death toll from tornadoes in 2020 is at least 73 people, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC). So far, there have been 589 reports of tornadoes across the United States, and the SPC says six of the top ten tornado days occurred in April.
The number of reported tornadoes is already well ahead of what we usually see. The three-year average is 424 by late April.
The current number of reported tornadoes is almost half of how many we usually see in an entire year. The US normally has around 1,200 twisters reported each year — more than any other country in the world.
Although the actual number of people killed by tornadoes can vary, they kills about 60 people each year on average. Deaths are usually caused by flying or falling debris.
These are the highest numbers we’ve seen since 2011, when there were a total of 1,703 tornadoes confirmed in the US. Equally as alarming, there were also 553 people killed overall during the devastating storms.
South Devastated by Destructive Tornadoes and Severe Weather
Tornados hit Tennessee particularly hard so far in 2020. The southern state has seen the greatest number of tornado-related fatalities this year, with 28 deaths reported. Most of those deaths occurred in March, when a tornado and other severe weather claimed several in and around Nashville.
Over Easter Weekend, an outbreak of more than 100 tornadoes across the South left at least 36 people dead. Only a week later, another round of tornadoes kills 6 more — 4 in Mississippi and 2 in Alabama.
That same week, the southern US saw more tornadoes tearing through parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. A total of 7 people died as a semi-truck overturned on an interstate, and homes and businesses crumbled.
Most of the fatalities so far this year have been in manufactured homes, according to data from the SPC.
So far this year, there have been an unusually high number of violent tornadoes. Experts categorized more than 40 percent of this year’s tornadoes as “strong.”
These destructive storms struck heavily populated areas like Nashville. These storms have higher odds of being deadlier than in the Plains, where the population is more spread out.
Tornado season normally peaks in May. Only time will tell how devastating this year’s tornadoes will be.