Meteorologist Dr Jeffrey Masters compiled Top ten global weather events of 2011 showing some shocking statistics, including the tornado super outbreak of 343 tornadoes April 25 – 28, 2011 in the Midwest and Southeast U.S. He ranks the Southern U.S./Northern Mexico drought as the eighth worst weather event in 2011 for the entire planet. Topping his list of worst weather events in 2011 is the East Africa drought and famine which has claimed the lives of over 30,000.
[Image: The Piggly Wiggly supermarket and Family Dollar store after the EF-5 Hackleburg, Alabama tornado on April 27. Image credit: NWS Birmingham, Alabama.]
Masters writes this is “the largest and most damaging tornado outbreak in U.S. history. The tornadoes caused 321 deaths, with 240 of those occurring in Alabama.” He estimates that the “outbreak caused more than $7.3 billion insured losses and total losses greater than $10.2 billion.” Tying for No. 10 was the 180-tornado outbreak in the central and southern states, killing 177, and doing $9.1 billion in damage.
Scientific American highlighted the following stats from Masters’ article:
- Six top-end EF-5 tornadoes hit the U.S. in 2011, tying this year with 1974 for the greatest number.
- 2011 ranks third behind 1974 and 1965 for the greatest number of strong to violent EF-3, EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes.
- Three of the five largest outbreaks on record hit in a six-week period in April and May.
- April 2011 had the most tornadoes of any month in U.S. history: 753. The previous record was 542 in May 2003.
- On April 27, 199 confirmed tornadoes touched down, the largest one-day total on record, beating the 148 that occurred in 24 hours on April 3 – 4, 1974.
- The April 25 – 28, 2011, super outbreak of 343 tornadoes was the largest and most expensive outbreak in U.S. history, according to Masters, causing $10.2 billion in damage.
- The May 22, 2011, tornado in Joplin killed 158 people and injured 1,150, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado since 1947, and the seventh deadliest in history. The $3 billion in insured damages makes it the most expensive tornado in world history.
The overall tornado death toll of 552 in 2011 ties 1936 as the second deadliest year in U.S. history.
On the Southern U.S./Northern Mexico drought, Masters writes:
“Drought and excessive heat created major impacts across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Kansas, western Louisiana, and northern Mexico. Texas endured its driest 1-year period on record, and rainfall in much of northern Mexico was the lowest since record keeping began in 1941. Texas had the hottest summer ever recorded by a U.S. state, and Oklahoma had the hottest month (July) any U.S. state has ever recorded.
The total direct losses to crops, livestock and timber are estimated at $10 billion, but are expected to continue to rise as the drought continues into 2012. Record fires across the region caused an additional $1 billion in damage.”
Pictures, video and much more text at WeatherUnderground.