Tornadoes - November 2013

According to data from the Storm Prediction Center, during November, there were 111 preliminary tornado reports, well above the 1991-2010 average of 58. When the final tornado count is determined the tornado count will likely rank among the 10 most active Novembers on record, and the most active since 2005. The most tornadoes during November in the 1950-present record occurred in 1992, when there were 155 confirmed. A majority of the preliminary tornado reports, 106, occurred on a single day — November 17th. Despite the above average tornado count during November, the year-to-date total is still below average. There were 717 confirmed tornadoes for January-August, with 203 still pending for September-November, for a year-to-date tornado count of 920. The 1991-2010 average number of tornadoes for the 11-month period is 1,229.

November 17th Tornado Outbreak

On November 17th, a powerful low pressure system moving through the Plains transported warm and moist air northward into the Midwest and Ohio River Valley. Temperatures reached into the 70s (degrees F) ahead of the associated cold front, creating unstable conditions across the region. The storm system created significant wind shear in the atmosphere, and combined with the warm, moist, and unstable conditions, created ideal conditions for a large tornado outbreak. The preliminary tornado count for the day was 106, but the final tornado count will likely be closer to 75. Severe weather, including strong winds and large hail were also reported across portions of the Northeast during the event. An unusual aspect of this outbreak was how far north it occurred during November. Typically this time of year, conditions are unfavorable for tornado outbreaks in the Midwest, with the Southeast and Gulf Coast states experiencing the most November tornadoes. The largest November tornado outbreak on record for the nation occurred from November 21–23, 1992 when 95 tornadoes were confirmed from Texas to Maryland.

In Indiana there 28 confirmed tornadoes, marking the third busiest tornado day on record for the state, and the largest November outbreak in state history. In Illinois, 25 tornadoes were confirmed, the fourth most for any day on record and the largest November outbreak to impact the state. Fourteen of the tornadoes to hit Illinois were rated EF-2 or stronger, the second most for any day in the state, behind December 18, 1957.

There were six reported fatalities during the outbreak, associated with three different tornadoes, all in Illinois. An EF-4 tornado hit near New Minden, Illinois and killed two people and injured another two. The tornado was on the ground for 10.6 miles, with a path width of 200 yards and winds in excess of 166 mph. An EF-3 tornado, north of Pudacah, Kentucky was on the ground for 42 miles, with a maximum path width of 500 yards and winds of 145 mph. This tornado killed 3 people in Massac County, Illinois. This tornado was unusual as it touched down in Kentucky, crossed into southern Illinois, and then dissipated in Kentucky, crossing state lines twice. The third fatal tornado occurred near Washington, Illinois. The EF-4 tornado had winds of 190 mph, a path length of 46.2 miles, and a maximum width of over 800 yards. This tornado was responsible for one fatality and over 120 injuries.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Tornadoes for November 2013, published online December 2013, retrieved on January 17, 2018 from