Tornadoes so far this year have likely been the deadliest in eight years, coming at a time when the nation is already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to an analysis by Weather.com, tornados have killed more than four dozen Americans so far this year, a staggering figure considering it is only April.
Most recently, a series of storms and tornadoes caused severe damage to parts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, claiming an updated count of 34 lives. Prior to that, Tennessee also experienced deadly tornadoes, which resulted in 25 deaths, up from a then-reported 24.
This results in 59 total deaths from tornadoes so far this year.
This year’s estimates already surpass the 55 lives lost in 2013, making this the deadliest tornado year since 2012.
Weather.com writes that, on average, tornadoes have killed 69 people in the U.S. across the years 1989 to 2018, per data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA also writes that approximately 1,200 tornadoes touch down in the U.S. annually.
One factor that could contribute to the high fatality toll is the unusually strong tornado categories, with half being classified as “violent” and another 44.4 percent designated as “strong.”
Additionally, the analysis says that it has been dark outside during several of the tornadoes that occurred in 2020. Nighttime tornadoes are more than twice as likely to be deadly than tornadoes that occur during the day. The study also found that although nighttime tornadoes make up only 27 percent of tornadoes, these overnight events were responsible for 39 percent of tornado-related deaths during a 55-year period.
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