Which State has the Most Tornadoes

Which State has the Most Tornadoes?

We’ve all heard how destructive and damaging tornadoes can be, but not all tornadoes are equal. Certain areas are prone to getting more tornadoes, and often the most susceptible places get larger, more destructive ones too. Perhaps you’re curious to know which state has the most tornadoes on average each year.

In this article, we’ll go over which states have the most tornadoes per year, and the impact that these storms have had on the state with the most annual tornadoes.

The impact we’ll discuss includes average loss of life, average financial impact in terms of damage, and other factors.

Let’s get started by learning more about tornadoes in the United States.

Tornadoes in the United States

The United States has a higher average number of tornadoes per year than any other country in the world. The US endures 1,253 tornadoes per year on average, making tornadoes one of the United States’ most significant types of environmental disasters.

State with the Most Tornadoes Per Year

Between 1999 and 2018, the average number of tornadoes per year in the United States has been 1,225.

54% of these tornadoes took place between the months of April and June.

The two states that have the highest average number of tornadoes each year are Texas and Kansas. There are certain states in the Plains and Midwest that also have many tornadoes on a yearly basis.

The areas of the United States that have the fewest tornadoes annually are in the West and Northeast.

So, Which State Has the Most Tornadoes?

The average annual number of tornadoes in Texas each year is 155, while the number in Kansas is 96, which means that in most years Texas has the most tornadoes in the United States.

Supercell Vega in Texas (May 2012) – Most tornadoes form from supercells like this

A major factor in this is the fact that both states are found in the middle of Tornado Alley. This is a term for the region of the Plains that lies between Central Texas and South Dakota.

Tornado Alley is among the places in the world with the most tornadic activity. Tornado Alley is generally agreed to include parts of several states, including:

  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Colorado

The area of Texas where tornadoes happen most frequently is the Red River Valley in the North of the state.

When do Most Tornadoes Occur?

Many people ask about tornado season in the US, and we have an article all about it if you’d like to learn more on this topic, but in brief:

The month of May has the highest average number of tornadoes, with 272 recorded tornadoes in the United States. April, has 189 tornadoes on average, while June has 202.

It’s very common for tornadoes to migrate from the South and make their way into the Midwest and Plains during April, May, and June. Be aware, however, that tornadoes may occur in almost any location in the country during the summer months. The heat and humidity of that season create the perfect conditions for tornadoes.

Texas After a Supercell Tornado
The Texas sky as a supercell system that spawned a tornado fades into the distance

In the Gulf Coast region, another peak time for tornado activity takes place in the fall. On occasion, this sort of weather moves further north to the southern Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley.

In the later parts of the fall and winter, the areas of the United States most likely to experience tornadoes are in the South, where there is still warmth and humidity.

Destruction Caused by Tornadoes

There is insurance data indicating that between 1949 and 2006 in the United States, there were 793 tornado events that each lead to economic losses of more than $1 million. For these most significant tornado events, the average loss every year is 982 million.

This is a great deal more than the average amount of 462 million that is lost each year from other tornado events.

For events that only involve a tornado and no other connected events, there was a flat trend with their economic losses between 1949 and 2006. However, when it came to tornadoes that involve floods or those which were connected to hurricanes, there was an upward trend during those years. The storm conditions likely to lead to hurricanes increased during this period, as well as a greater vulnerability to storm damage in coastal areas.

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What State Has the Most Tornadoes

The number of fatalities caused by tornadoes depends not only on the severity of the tornado in question but also factors such as what kinds of structures are in the area and the population density.

For example, areas that have a high number of mobile homes tend to have greater casualties, simply because of the lack of structural stability and the concentration of residences.

Demographic factors also play a role. Places with many elderly or otherwise vulnerable people may experience higher fatality rates.

The worst tornado in US History was the Tri State Tornado of 1925, with nearly 700 casualties.

Most Destructive Tornadoes in Texas History

So, we know that Texas experiences the most tornadoes annually, but what are some of the worst storms it has endured?

The most destructive tornado to ever strike Texas was on May 11, 1953, in Waco. The touchdown point was north of Lorena, a Texas town, and it started moving towards Waco immediately. A hook-shaped echo developed in the tornado. Almost a third of a mile in width, this enormous tornado was classified as F5 on the FUJITA Scale.

Enhanced Fujita Scale Graphic

It crossed nearly south to north through Waco.

How Deadly Was the Waco Tornado of 1953?

This massive Waco tornado killed 114 people and injured 597 others. Approximately 600 homes and 1,000 other types of buildings were destroyed by the tornado. There were about 2,000 vehicles destroyed.

Other Major Tornadoes in Texas History

The second most destructive tornado ever to occur in Texas took place on May 18, 1902. It killed 114 people (which made it on par with the Waco tornado) and it caused 250 injuries.

Records show it may have touched down in Berclair just before 4 pm. This is approximately 15 miles to the southwest of Goliad.

After that, it proceeded on a track that faced to the northeast.

Chart: Tornadoes Each Year Listed by State

So, where does your state stack up against Texas in terms of annual tornadoes?

Here’s a chart which lists the average number of tornadoes each year for every state in the USA:

State Average Annual Number of Tornadoes
Texas 155
Kansas 96
Florida 66
Oklahoma 62
Nebraska 57
Illinois 54
Colorado 53
Iowa 51
Minnesota 45
Missouri 45
Alabama 44
Mississippi 43
Arkansas 39
Louisiana 37
South Dakota 36
North Dakota 32
North Carolina 31
Georgia 30
South Carolina 27
Tennessee 26
Wisconsin 24
Indiana 22
Kentucky 21
Ohio 19
Virginia 18
Michigan 16
Pennsylvania 16
Wyoming 12
California 11
New Mexico 11
Maryland 10
Montana 10
New York 10
Arizona 5
Idaho 5
Oregon 3
Utah 3
Washington 3
Connecticut 2
Maine 2
Nevada 2
New Jersey 2
West Virginia 2
Delaware 1
Hawaii 1
Massachusetts 1
New Hampshire 1
Vermont 1
Alaska 0
Rhode Island 0
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