Tornadoes - July 2020

This analysis is based on preliminary data available from the Storm Prediction Center. Final tornado counts published by the Storm Prediction Center and NCEI's Storm Events Database might differ from this report. For a more detailed climatology, please visit our tornado climatology page.

According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, during July, there were 114 preliminary tornado reports. This is well below the 1991-2010 average of 134 tornadoes for the month of July. A large majority of the July tornadoes occurred in counts of fewer than 10 tornadoes per day. The only days in July that had 10 or more tornadoes were on July 2 and 8. Many of the July tornadoes occurred across the North Central Plains states, which is consistent with recent climatology for tornadoes during the month of July.

The first noted event of the month was on July 2, as 10 tornadoes were clustered across eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. Most of these were weaker EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes that caused minor damage to trees, outbuildings and utility poles. There were no deaths associated with the June 2 tornado events. The second notable event of the month was on July 8, as 28 tornadoes were reported across Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois. One of these July 8 tornadoes was particularly impactful - rated as a rare and violent EF-4, which destroyed several homes and other structures in central Minnesota. This tornado also caused one death and several injuries. It has been nearly 10 years (8/7/2010) since an EF-4 tornado struck Minnesota. It was also the first U.S. EF-4 tornado since April and was the sixth EF-4 rated U.S. tornado so far in 2020.

Did You Know?

Tornado Count

Final monthly tornado counts are typically less than the preliminary count. This can be due to some phenomena being inaccurately reported as tornadic activity or a single tornado being reported multiple times. Tornado accounts are reported to the local National Weather Service forecast offices who are responsible for going into the field and verifying each tornado reported. This process often takes several months to complete. Once all reports have been investigated, the final count is published by the Storm Prediction Center.

The monthly climate reports are written using the preliminary numbers because the final data is not available at the time of production. Historically, for every 100 preliminary tornado reports, at least 65 tornadoes are confirmed. An error bar is depicted on the tornado count graphic representing this uncertainty in the preliminary tornado count.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Tornadoes for July 2020, published online August 2020, retrieved on October 20, 2020 from