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Supporting National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

2012 Tornado Reports for the Contiguous U.S. Map

On the heels of one of the most destructive tornado years on record for the United States (2011), tornado activity during 2012 was below average. In 2012, there were 878 confirmed tornadoes between January and October, with 58 tornado reports still pending for November and December according to data from the Storm Prediction Center. The 1991–2010 annual tornado average is 1,253, and 2012 marks the slowest tornado year since 2002 when there were 934 tornadoes. Despite the slower-than-average year for tornadoes, there were still several large, destructive, and deadly tornado outbreaks during the year. Three tornado outbreaks caused at least $1 billion in damage, and there were 68 tornado-related fatalities during the year.

It is extremely important not to let the rather slow tornado year of 2012 lull us into a false sense of security. Each year, many people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advanced warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and severe weather so everyone is exposed to some degree of risk. Because severe weather knows no boundaries and affects every individual, NOAA is calling on people across the country to “be a force of nature” in their communities in support of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 3–9, 2013.

During National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and NOAA emphasize the need for individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to prepare emergency plans and to know what to do before severe weather strikes. You can “be a force of nature” by taking appropriate actions before, during, and after extreme weather strikes by knowing your risk, having a plan, building a kit, and staying informed via a NOAA Weather Radio, television, the Internet, or other media source. Being a force of nature also means staying connected to family, friends, and neighbors and inspiring them to act. As part of NOAA’s campaign to “Build a Weather-Ready Nation,” this week is all about what you can do to take a stand against severe weather.

For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness check out