July 5, 2005 -- No one has died from a tornado since March in the United States--a first since official records began in 1950, according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Normally, during the most active tornado months of April, May and June, 61 percent of all tornado fatalities or an average of 52 deaths occur.
Killer tornadoes, however, are possible given the right atmospheric conditions. One such scenario is during a land-falling tropical system. Parts of the Gulf Coast, for instance, will have an increased tornado threat as Tropical Storm Cindy moves ashore.
The previous low mark was one tornado-related fatality during the same period in 1992.
Despite this record, the U. S. has experienced a normal number of tornadoes with 665 reports in the first six months of the year. However, 2005 is well below last year's record-breaking total of 964 tornadoes from January through June. Tornadoes have caused a total of five fatalities this year so far--four in January and one in March.
The busiest time of year so far in 2005 was the first 10 days of June with 177 tornado reports, surpassing the total for the entire month of May nationwide.
"This is truly a unique situation and one that we are very happy to report," said Dan McCarthy, NOAA Storm Prediction Center warning coordination meteorologist. "The ingredients needed in the atmosphere never really came together, preventing development of our normal springtime pattern that makes long-track tornadoes and tornado outbreaks possible during these prime months for severe weather."
However, McCarthy cautions that tornadoes can occur anywhere any time of year with the right atmospheric conditions. "We are entering the prime time of year for tropical storms. We had 300 tornadoes last year during the tropical season, so be prepared, pay attention to weather forecasts and be safe," he advised.
One way to stay safe is to monitor NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards, which provides immediate broadcasts of warnings and information pertaining to severe weather and civil emergencies. Receivers can be purchased online and at most electronic retailers.
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.
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