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John Wheeler, Published November 25 2012

Weather Talk: Few tornadoes in 2012 likely to lead to record

The year 2011 was one of the worst in the modern era for tornadoes. The 1,692 confirmed tornadoes in the United States last year was the second-highest count on record. (The highest was 1,817 in 2004.)

But 2012 has been the opposite. Through November, there have been just 882 confirmed tornadoes. Although tornadoes are possible in December, they are rare, so 2012 will likely go down as having the lowest or one of the lowest tornado counts on record. Tornado records go back to 1950. Due to population changes, tornado counts prior to 1950 are considered unreliable.

The lack of tornadoes in 2012 is no doubt related to the Great Plains and Midwest drought this past summer. But there have been droughts before. The absence of tornadoes this year following such an active tornado year demonstrates the great variability in weather.


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