Tornadoes - January 2013
According to data from the Storm Prediction Center, during January, there were 64 preliminary tornado reports. This is above the 1991-2010 average of 35 for the month. Most of the tornadoes during the month occurred during a severe weather outbreak on the 29th and 30th. There was one reported tornado-related fatality during the month on January 30th, ending a record-long stretch of 219 days without a tornado-related fatality in the United States. Prior to this date, the previous tornado-related death occurred on June 24th in Florida when Tropical Storm Debby impacted the state. According to analysis by the Storm Prediction Center, the previous record long consecutive day stretch with no tornado fatalities in the 1950-present official record was 197 days between August 15th, 1986 and February 28th, 1987. Longer periods without tornado fatalities have occurred prior to 1950, but inconsistent observing practices make comparisons to current data difficult.
On January 29th and 30th, a potent cold front moved through the southern U.S., spawning severe weather from Texas to New Jersey. Ahead of the cold front, record-breaking warmth surged northward, with temperatures reaching 30°F above average. Central Tennessee and northern Georgia were the hardest hit regions during the tornado outbreak. Several EF-2 tornadoes were confirmed in middle Tennessee on the 29th, which caused significant damage. In total, at least 14 tornadoes hit the region. According to the National Weather Service, this marked the largest tornado outbreak on record in central Tennessee during January. A strong EF-3 strength tornado tracked 21.8 miles through northern Georgia on the 30th with estimated peak winds of 160 mph and a width of 900 yards. The tornado caused significant damage in Adairsville, Georgia, where one fatality and over 20 injuries were reported. Hundreds of homes in Gordon County and Barstow County were damaged or completely destroyed. The tornado also crossed Interstate 75 where approximately 100 cars were overturned.