Tornadoes - October 2012
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According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, during October, there were 41 preliminary tornado reports. This is slightly less than the 1991-2000 October average of 61 tornadoes. Tornado activity during October and autumn in general, varies from year to year. The most active October occurred in 2001 when 119 tornadoes impacted the nation and the least active October occurred in 1952 when no tornadoes impacted the United States. Despite the slow tornado activity, two unusual tornado outbreaks did impact the country — one in the Southeast on October 17th and one in California on October 22nd.
The below-average tornado activity during October continued a slower-than-average tornado year across the country. The preliminary number of tornadoes during the January-October period was 900, with 138 tornado reports still pending for August, September, and October. This marked the lowest January-October tornado count since 2002.
A strong, fast moving storm system moved through the Southeast on October 17th spawning 15 preliminary reports of tornadoes across Mississippi and Arkansas, with central Mississippi receiving the brunt of the action. Tornado activity this time of year across Mississippi is unusual, with the state averaging three tornadoes during October. A confirmed EF-3 tornado tracked over 16 miles through Scott and Newton counties, injuring one person. This marks only the second EF-3 tornado on record for the state during October. Two additional EF-2 tornadoes were confirmed, bringing the count of strong (EF-2+) tornadoes to three. This marks the second most number of strong tornadoes to impact Mississippi during October on record, and the 11 confirmed total ties the largest October outbreak on record for the state. During the entire outbreak, there were four injuries and no reported fatalities.
On October 22nd a strong Pacific storm system moved through Northern California, causing damaging winds and at least five confirmed tornadoes around the Sacramento area. According to the National Weather Service assessment, this tied a 1996 single-day tornado record for this region of California. The entire state averages 11 tornadoes annually and less than one tornado during the month of October. Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged in California’s Central Valley during the severe weather outbreak, but no injuries or fatalities were reported. The tornadoes were all weak in nature, rated either EF-1 or EF-0. The storm system also caused early-season heavy snowfall across the Sierra Nevada.