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Daryl Ritchison, Published February 03 2013

Weather Talk: Time between tornado deaths of 220 days longest on record

On June 24, 2012, a tornado associated with Tropical Storm Debby moved through Highland County, Fla. Tragically, a young mother was killed protecting her baby from the violent wind that struck her house. The baby, still wrapped in her mother’s arms, suffered broken ribs, cuts and bruises, but did make a full recovery.

That tornado death was the last one reported in the United States until last Wednesday’s severe weather that hit northern Georgia particularly hard. An EF3-rated tornado moved through Adairsville, Ga., killing a man when a tree fell on a shed in which he had sought shelter.

That stretch of 220 days was the longest between tornado deaths in the country since such records have been kept in 1950. The previous record was 197 days, which occurred from late 1986 through early 1987. Both of these periods without tornadoes were also periods of drought, which explains the corresponding lack of thunderstorms and tornadoes.

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