2011 Tornado Season Already One of Ten Deadliest in U.S. History

Posted on May 23, 2011

Joplin Tornado Sattlite Before Tornado Spawned


This has been a very bad tornado year in the U.S. Powerful tornadoes have killed more people this year than in decades, despite improved warnings about tornadoes. Some of the tornadoes have been too powerful for people to survive, even if they took cover. Hundreds of people were killed in the April 27 outbreak in Alabama and Mississippi. Yesterday, a tornado in Joplin killed at least 116 people. The Joplin twister is the deadliest single tornado in nearly 60 years. A tornado in Flint, Michigan on June 8, 1953 also killed 116 people.

There were 365 tornado fatalities so far this year before the Joplin tornado. Media reports currently indicate 116 fatalities from the Joplin tornado. Here is a list of the deadliest tornado years in U.S. history, according to data from NOAA, NWS and research by Grazulis.

DateFatalities
1925794
1936552
1917551
1927540
1896537
1953519
1920499
2011*481
1908477
1909404
1932394
1942384
1924376
1974366
1933362


*365 + 116 estimated Joplin fatalities as of May 23


Note: The image above, from NOAA, shows the storm system moments before spawning the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri.

Photo: NOAA