The above map is of the 1988 tornado season, which also happened to be the quietest year ever in the state of Oklahoma with a mere 17 total twisters. It is courtesy of the Tornado History Project, which you should consider donating to as it seeks to improve tornado record-keeping.
But that record is in danger of falling to 2014, which stands right now at a preliminary 14 total tornadoes reported in Oklahoma as of this writing and the latest data available. To give a comparison for how low 14 is, here’s a look at the last twenty years or so of tornado data in the state…
The thing about tornado seasons in Oklahoma is that they are always changing and there’s never a guarantee of an active or non-active year. As the map above shows, we can be over 100 some years, or well under 25 others.
Thus far this year, we broke a four year above average trend with a stunning drop well below average to record lows.
It must be stressed the 2014 numbers ARE preliminary, and the numbers above do not reflect October which saw at least one additional twister in the state. Also, we do have some time left this year to make this whole blog post moot — but the odds of that happening does tend to lower the further we slip into the cooler months of November and December.
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To compare this year with previous years which were considered quiet, here’s a visual illustration:
2014 Tornado Numbers
As you can see, a large chunk of Oklahoma saw very little tornado activity this year, the northwest and west saw 0 tornado reports for the year. The Southern Plains have been similarly quiet, with only sporadic tornado events this year.
2002 was a fairly quiet year for Oklahoma, especially the eastern half. This year saw an incredibly low 18 tornadoes total in the state. However, Kansas and the Texas Panhandle/West Texas saw pretty significant tornado events in the Spring.
2006 was a year where very few tornadoes occured throughout the state, and the region itself was pretty quiet as well. There were some events in Kansas, but generally the trend was a quiet one. In terms of activity, 2006 somewhat trends with 2014 except slightly more active.
This Doesn’t Mean Things Won’t Change
Right now, after what was a disastrous 2013, it’s a good thing we have saw this year become the polar opposite of last year. It’s too premature to say we’ll for sure break a record, but the odds tend to favor us at least being amongst the lowest tornado years on record since records have been kept (1950).
As always, be sure to stay weather aware as Mother Nature does not keep a calendar and definitely doesn’t know what maps say. Have a severe weather safety plan ready to go at any time![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]