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General · 29th May 2013
Barry Saxifrage
No place on earth creates as many tornadoes as the southern and central United States. And here in the global heartland of tornadoes the last few years have whip lashed between record breaking extremes. Along the way the three most damaging tornadoes in world history plowed multi-billion dollar swaths of death and destruction through the American cities of Joplin, Tuscaloosa and Moore.

Record breaking tornado years

The best source on climate change and tornadoes that I've found is the writings of meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters. He tells the tale of the recent remarkable whiplash between extremes:

"In May 2011, the Joplin, Missouri tornado did $3 billion in damage - the most expensive tornado in world history - and killed 158 people, the largest death toll from a U.S. tornado since 1947.

An astounding 1050 EF-1 and stronger tornadoes ripped though the U.S. for the one-year period ending that month. This was the greatest 12-month total for these stronger tornadoes in the historical record, and an event so rare that we might expect it to occur only once every 62,500 years.

Fast forward now to May 2012 - April 2013 … the lowest 12-month total of EF-1 and stronger tornadoes on record--just 197. This was an event so rare we might expect it to occur only once every 3,000 - 4,000 years."

Here's a chart I made of these unprecedented extremes...

(note: this is just an excerpt from my full article published on the Vancouver Observer. Please click the link below to read the full article.)
Click here to read the rest of this article.