The April severe weather outbreaks across the south ravaged much of the state of Alabama and impacted many of its citizens. Some locations were impacted more than once throughout the month and some were hit twice in the same day. The tornado outbreaks of April 15th and April 27th led to dozens and dozens of confirmed tornadoes. The April 27th event will go down in history as one of the most deadly systems not only in Alabama, but in the entire nation. Not only was the April 27th event historic in the number of tornadoes that day, more than 50, it was also historic in the magnitude, intensity and path length of several tornadoes.
To date, several tornado climatology records have already been exceeded this year and we haven't even reached the end of spring severe weather season yet. Through the end of April, Alabama tornadoes accounted for 10 percent of all tornadoes across the country for the year to date. Who knows what the rest of the year has in store for us, but let's hope that it is much kinder than the first four months have turned out to be.
Below is a compilation of some tornado stats and records for Alabama:
Tornado Climatology for Alabama:
Tornado Statistics # of Tornadoes
30-year average (1981-2010) 37
April 2011 109* (1,2)
Year to Date 121* (1)
Yearly Record 121* (1) in 2011, previous 94 in 2008
There were more F-4/EF-4 tornadoes in 2011 than in the period of 2000-2010. This year now holds the record for the most F-4/EF-4 and F-5/EF-5 tornadoes in a single year.
*Important note: The total number of tornadoes for the month of April and 2011 to date is still considered preliminary. These totals still may need to be adjusted.
(1) Updated 8/24/2011 (2) The number of monthly tornadoes in April alone exceeded the previous annual record number of tornadoes in Alabama.
Greatest Number of Tornadoes in a single event:
Rank # of tornadoes Date(s)
1 62 April 27, 2011*
2 45 April 15, 2011*
3 36 Novermber 24, 2001
4 24 April 8, 2006
5 23 September 25, 2005
6(T) 21 August 16, 1985
6(T) 21 September 28, 1998
8 20 May 7, 2003
9(T) 18 May 3, 1984
9(T) 18 April 19, 2009
*Number of tornadoes is still preliminary.
Alabama F-4/EF-4 and F-5/EF-5 Tornadoes*:
Time Period F-4 OR EF-4 F-5 OR EF-5
SINCE 1874 64 6
SINCE 1950 32 6
APRIL 27, 2011 8 3
*Based on maximum EF rating along the entire track.
List of Alabama F-5/EF-5 Tornadoes:
March 3, 1966 - Vienna-Benovala (Pickens, Tuscaloosa)
April 3, 1974 - Moulton (Lawrence, Limestone, Morgan, Madison)
April 3, 1974 - Athens - Vanntown (Limestone, Madison, Lincoln, TN)
April 3, 1974 - Guin (Lamar, Marion, Winston, Lawrence, Morgan)
April 4, 1977 - Smithfield (Jefferson)
April 8, 1998 - Oak Grove (Tuscaloosa, Jefferson)
April 27, 2011 - Smithville, MS - Shottsville, AL (Marion, Franklin)
April 27, 2011 - Hackleburg (Marion, Franklin, Lawrence, Morgan,
Deadliest U.S. Tornado Outbreaks:
Rank Date(s) Outbreak Name Fatalities
1 3/18/1925 Tri-State Tornado Outbreak 747+
2 4/4-5/1936 Tupelp-Gainesville Tornado Outbreak* 454
3 3/28/1920 Palm Sunday 1920 Outbreak* 380+
4 4/25-28/2011 Southern State Outbreak Squence* 339
5 3/21-22/1932 Deep South Outbreak* 330+
6 4/23-25/1908 Dixie Outbreak* 324
7 4/1-4/1974 Super Outbreak Sequence* 319
8 5/27-28/1896 St. Louis/East St. Louis Outbreak 305
9 4/11-12/1965 Palm Sunday Outbreak 1965 256
10 6/7-9/1952 Flint-Worchester Outbreak Sequence 247
*Indicates outbreak affected Alabama.
NOTE: Tornado fatality numbers for 2011 are still preliminary.
Special thanks to the Huntsville and Mobile offices of the National Weather Service for their contributions providing the most current information possible to produce this summary.
For more information about the April Tornado Outbreaks in Alabama, please visit the Alabama National Weather Service office websites.