You may recall me blogging about the record U.S. tornado-less February in 2010. Nearly 30 months later, we are setting a record for the least tornadoes in July: Only 12 reports have been filed* versus the previous record 43 of according to NCAR. They have an excellent article about "why" (short answer: drought) and features this graph, where the red line is adjusted tornado sightings assuming that the ol' days had modern technology (well played, NCAR).
Yet that doesn't mean it's been a slow severe weather month. Quite the opposite, in fact if you compare the number of SPC wind reports in July 2012 (4,317) to July 2009 (2,178), there have been nearly twice as many (note especially the increase in the East). What's different this year? A lot of heat, which has helped fuel giant wind storms, while in 2009 I was blogging about setting thousands of record lows, not highs.
Our paltry dozen-or-so tornadoes this July can't compare to the previous record of 43 (or more), but how are we doing for tornadoes in the U.S. so far this year? Not well either (statistically speaking). The SPC says that tornado totals so far this year rank us #2 for lowest of the past eight years, and (way) below the 25th percentile on record:
Of course, you'd be hard-pressed to convince anyone who has been through a tornado that this is bad news. Farther north, though, tornado numbers were double in Saskatchewan, Canada, according to our article.
*SPC Preliminary reports, a number that constantly changes (usually decreasing due to duplicate removal).
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