Tornadoes - August 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 August, there were 161 preliminary tornado reports. This is well above, nearly double, the 1991-2010 average of 83 tornadoes for the month of August. The majority of the U.S. August tornadoes occurred across several days and were focused in Minnesota, Illinois and up the East Coast from North Carolina to New Jersey.

The most prolific tornado-producing days were August 3-4 in which 52 tornadoes developed across North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey due to Tropical Storm Isaias. Many of these were weaker tornadoes (EF-0 and EF-1) that produced light damage to agriculture, structures and residences. However, there were several EF-2 tornadoes and one EF-3 tornado across coastal North Carolina and Virginia due to Isaias. The single EF-3 tornado that occurred in coastal North Carolina was responsible for two tornado fatalities.

A second notable event for the month was August 10, in which a destructive Midwestern derecho produced at least 16 tornadoes across eastern Illinois and the Chicago metroplex. These weaker (EF-0 and EF-1) tornadoes did not produce any fatalities, but did cause scattered damage to homes and businesses.

Another notable tornado day occurred on August 14 in which 31 tornadoes were reported, primarily across central Minnesota. These were also relatively weak tornadoes (EF-0 and EF-1) that produced sporadic damage to trees, outbuildings and residences. There were also no fatalities reported.

Citing This Report

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