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Texas

Below Average Year for Texas Tornadoes: Only 100

Tornado.JPG
Photo by Tim Marshall, www.srh.noaa.gov
A tornado outside of Amarillo, Texas. The state ranked forth in the nation for tornadoes in 2011.

One hundred tornadoes may sound like a lot. But according to the Insurance Council of Texas (ICOT), that’s actually below average.

ICOT says that Texas’s 2011 tornado count – an even 100 – is less than the state’s yearly average of 135. Still, the 2011 number was high enough to rank Texas as having the fourth most tornadoes in the U.S., trailing Alabama with 146 twisters (accompanied by 242 fatalities), Oklahoma with 118 (32 fatalities), and Tennessee with 102 (14 fatalities). ICOT's statement comes in the midst of Severe Weather Week, as decreed by Gov. Rick Perry. 

The Texas twisters created no fatalities, basically proving the exception to the rule in a year of violent weather. In a press release, ICOT quotes Greg Carbon with the Norman, Oklahoma office of the Storm Prediction Center as saying “More than a dozen states recorded tornado fatalities in 2011, including Massachusetts that had three people killed from a rare tornado.”

While tornadoes spared Texas to an extent, ICOT spokesperson Mark Hanna spoke to another form of extreme weather Texans are all too familiar with: drought. “We escaped the wrath of hurricanes and had fewer tornadoes, but the lack of rainfall extended the drought in many areas of the state,” Hanna says. “That led to record wildfires which I don’t think we will soon forget.”

The council has compiled a list of confirmed Texas tornadoes dating back to 1995 – the busiest year on the list, with 232 tornadoes.

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