NOTE: New information published April 11, 2023 by the Storm Prediction Center has added additional tornadoes to the count for January-March. This article has been updated to account for the new information.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Severe weather season has been very active throughout the United States, not just for the shear number of tornadoes, but their intensity.
New and updated data published by the Storm Prediction Center analyzed data through the first three months of the year. That data is still considered preliminary as storm and tornado reports are yet to be finalized.
Tornado count: January-March
For the first three months of the year, the United States has the highest tornado count on record. Through March 31, 410 tornadoes have been reported in the U.S., twelve tornadoes more than the previous highest year in 2017 (398).
The number of tornadoes in March alone was significant. 162 tornadoes were reported, the 5th most ever for the month. Last year, 2022, holds the record for most tornadoes in March since records were kept in 1950. Note: This number will likely rise as more tornadoes are counted.
March’s tornadoes weren’t just significant in number, but intensity. March brought two EF-4 tornadoes. The violent tornadoes from Rolling Fork, MS on March 24 and Keota, IA on March 31 means that for five consecutive years the United States has recorded a violent tornado…tied for the longest stretch of violent tornadoes with 1963 to 1967.
4th most tornadoes in a single day
The updated, yet preliminary, count of 122 tornadoes on March 31, 2023 is the fourth most tornadoes in a day since record keeping began in 1950. A day is considered noon to noon Greenwich Mean Time (12 zulu to 12 zulu), so as to account for tornado outbreaks that cover multiple time zones.
Not just tornadoes, but other severe weather
It wasn’t just twisters causing problems in March, all modes of severe weather added up to a very active month.
There were 1,821 severe weather reports in March 2023. The 10-year rolling average number of severe weather reports in March is 1,036.
April, May and June can be very active severe weather months throughout the United States. Here in Central Texas our severe weather season usually peaks in May before more active severe weather retreats northward as our summer heat builds in.