According to preliminary numbers, in 2022 the state of Alabama experienced the 2nd most number of tornadoes since the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) has been keeping records.
In an interview with Meteorologist Mark Linhares with the NWS Birmingham Office, 98 tornadoes were documented in 2022, which ranks second behind the 145 tornadoes in 2011. NWS has been keeping annual records on the number of tornadoes since 1950.
“In 2022, we ended up as a state with two EF-3 tornadoes and 14 EF-2 tornadoes. All the rest were zero or EF-1 (82) which are considered weak,” said Linhares about the makeup of the 2022 tornadoes.
EF stands for the Enhanced Fujita scale, which rates tornado intensity based on the severity of the damage they cause.
Within Alabama, more than half of the tornadoes occurred in the Central part of the state with the jurisdiction of the NWS Birmingham Office. Here was the breakdown:
- 50 — NWS Birmingham Office consist of 39 counties from Troy to Cullman and Gadsden
- 37— NWS Mobile Office, covers Southwest Alabama
- 8— NWS Huntsville Office, covers North Alabama
- 4— NWS Tallahassee Office, covers Southeast Alabama
Tornadoes Are Increasing in the South
Linhares told us the tornado numbers are increasing in the southeastern United States, which includes Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, potentially Georgia.
“People need to be aware that tornadoes can occur at any time of day and any day of the year.” added Linhares. “We used to advertise a spring and a fall severe weather season. We’re now realizing we can have tornadoes from late October through early May. We are trying to lump it into one season now.”
“Tornadoes can occur anytime,” he emphasized. But you need to be really aware anytime from late October through early May.”
Be Prepared Alabama
Severe weather can happen anytime in Alabama. Just this past week on January 3rd, the city of Montgomery and communities in the Black Belt experienced tornadoes near noon time and in the early morning.
The Bama Buzz regularly publishes tips to help Alabamians prepare for tornadoes and serve weather.
Here are a number of steps from the National Weather Service:
- Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
- Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warnings. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smartphones to alert residents of severe storms capable of producing tornadoes.
- Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a church or family member’s.
- Pick a safe room in your home, such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Check more ideas for your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
- Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know where to go when tornado warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
- Prepare Your Home: Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.
- Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for the possibility of tornadoes. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt.
One last bit of advice— follow on social media the National Weather Service Offices in Alabama.
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