Quietest 3 years for tornadoes since records started in 1950s

Quietest 3 years for tornadoes since records started in 1950s

[Ed. – Emphasis added, in case you need the reminder.]

The U.S. experienced fewer tornadoes in the past three years than any similar span since accurate records began in the 1950s. Yet meteorologists aren’t sure exactly why.

As this year comes to a close, about 150 fewer damaging tornadoes than average have hit the U.S., according to data from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). Explanations for the decrease in twisters the past three years range from unusual cold to unusual heat, or just coincidence. …

So far this year, just 348 EF-1 or stronger tornadoes have touched down across the country, marking the third-lowest number on record. An average year sees about 500 EF-1 or greater tornadoes. A total of 364 EF-1 or stronger tornadoes touched down in 2012 and 404 in 2013. …

Harold Brooks, a meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., said there’s no consistent reason for the three-year lull — the calmest stretch since a similar quiet period in the late 1980s — because weather patterns have varied significantly from year to year.

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