|New Albany, Ohio.|
|Timespan||January 1 - December 29|
|Maximum rated tornado||EF5|
|Dates of maximum rating||New Albany, Ohio on April 23|
|Damage||~$25 billion (2020 USD)|
2020 was an incredibly active year for tornadoes. This is in large part due to the favorable upper level pattern across the United States for much of the spring and into the summer, with continued severe weather opportunities in the fall. 28 violent (EF4+) tornadoes struck the United States in 2020, the third most in a year since records began in 1950. There were several large outbreaks that attributed to 2020's high tornado count, including three major outbreaks in May, a major outbreak across the Midwest in June, a major outbreak in the Great Lakes region in April, and various other events. 2020 was also a remarkably damaging year, costing roughly $25 billion in tornado-related damage.
United States yearly total
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There were 88 tornadoes reported in the United States in January, 74 of which were confirmed.
Severe storms were forecast to begin 2020 in western and central Louisiana. These storms produced nine tornadoes in addition to damaging winds, the strongest of which being an EF2 that impacted areas near the town of Boyce.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of January 17, 2020
On the afternoon of January 24, strong to severe storms moved across central Florida. One of these storms spawned a brief, yet intense EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds of 140 mph. The tornado impacted the city of Wildwood, Florida. Although it only had a path length of about 2.7 miles, it injured two people and severely damaged the city hall building. Four other weak tornadoes occurred across Florida that afternoon.
There were 70 tornadoes reported in the United States in February, 66 of which were confirmed
On February 16, the SPC first delineated a 15% risk area over the southeastern United States. On February 19, as conditions leading up to the event appeared more favorable for a larger scale severe weather event, the SPC upgraded eastern Alabama and much of Southern Georgia to a moderate risk for both straight line winds and tornadoes. Several tornadoes touched down that evening, including a long-track EF3 which struck Dawson, Georgia, leaving behind a 30 mile path of destruction. Several other tornadoes occurred, many of which were QLCS tornadoes occurring in a squall line that moved across central and southern Georgia that evening. A few weak tornadoes also touched down in the Florida panhandle.
There were 154 tornadoes reported in the United States in March, 132 of which were confirmed.
On the morning of March 5, an enhanced risk for damaging winds was issued in central and northeast Oklahoma. There was also a 10% tornado risk in this region, and 12 tornadoes touched down with the severe weather that afternoon and evening. EF2 tornadoes hit the towns of Beggs, Meridian, and Macomb in Oklahoma, with a few other weak tornadoes striking the area, as well.
ArkLaTex (11th) / ESE MS/WSW AL (12th)
NE OK/SE KS/SW MO/NW AR (24th) / SW KY/TN/N AL/N MS/SE MO (25th)
There were 290 tornadoes reported in the United States in April, 245 of which were confirmed.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of April 1-3, 2020
A weak yet moderate sized outbreak of tornadoes impacted Kansas on the afternoon of April 7. Numerous strong to severe storms developed in the northern part of the state, and later in the eastern part of the state. These storms produced hail and gusty winds, in addition to several weak tornadoes. Some of these tornadoes, such as an EF1 that occurred north of Green, Kansas, were quite photogenic.
E OK/NE TX/AR (12th) / KY/TN/AL (13th) / Carolinas (14th)
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of April 23, 2020
On April 23, 2020 a large outbreak of tornadoes impacted Ohio, extreme east Indiana, and far north Kentucky. It is the largest outbreak in Ohio's history. It included an EF5 tornado which struck the Columbus, Ohio area, and did extreme damage in the suburb of New Albany, Ohio. The damage in New Albany has been considered some of the most extreme of all time, and the outbreak is one of the most intense the region has ever seen. The event left 89 people dead and cost $11.3 billion.
A local tornado event occurred on April 27 in north-central Texas. The strongest tornado was an EF2 which impacted the Hillsboro area. Seven other tornadoes touched down that evening in the area, all weak and short-lived. Suburbs of Dallas were impacted by a hail storm during this event; the largest hailstones measured as much as 3.5 inches across.
A regional outbreak of severe weather struck southwest Oklahoma on April 29, including 13 tornadoes. Two EF2 tornadoes struck the area: one near Indiahoma and another west of Walters. Widespread severe hail and damaging winds also occurred with this activity into the overnight hours. 14 additional tornadoes impacted Mississippi and Alabama on April 30, including a high-end EF2 which struck the Belk, Alabama area.
There were 439 tornadoes reported in the United States in May, 398 of which were confirmed.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of May 4-6, 2020
A compact shortwave trough rotated through the central United States sparking this tornado outbreak in the Southern Plains. May 5 was the most active day, with a moderate risk for tornadoes issued by the Storm Prediction Center that morning. 29 tornadoes raked across Oklahoma that evening, including a high-end EF4 that impacted Purcell, Oklahoma, an EF3 which struck the Oklahoma City Metro area, and another EF3 which impacted Wewoka after dark.
On the Morning of May 10, the SPC issued an enhanced risk for severe weather across Iowa and northern Missouri, including a 10% risk area for tornadoes. Activity developed mid-afternoon and a tornado watch was issued. While the upper-level pattern featured veer-back-veer profiles, a few tornadoes still developed. This included a high-end EF2 tornado near Greenfield, Iowa. Over the course of the afternoon activity grew upscale into an MCS and only a few more weak tornadoes were spawned. On May 11 two additional tornadoes were spawned from the same system in Michigan.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of May 22, 2020
On May 22, 2020, a large and destructive tornado outbreak took place in the central and southern Plains states. 76 tornadoes occurred in a nine hour span, many of which were significant, long-tracked, and deadly. Two EF5 tornadoes occurred: one striking Belle Plaine, Kansas, and one striking Ponca City, Oklahoma. There were numerous EF3 and EF4 tornadoes, as well, including one extremely high-end EF4 moving through the Wichita, Kansas suburbs and striking Andover. This outbreak would be followed by another outbreak sequence in the central and southern Plains a week later, in which similar areas were yet again struck by tornadoes.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak sequence of May 27-31, 2020
The tornado outbreak sequence of May 27-31, 2020 was a multi-day severe weather episode which spawned 211 tornadoes across the central and southern Plains states, as well as the Midwest. The event featured several significant tornadoes, the strongest of which an EF4 that passed near McPherson, Kansas on May 30. The busiest day of the outbreak was May 28, on which 72 tornadoes occurred. This outbreak affected much of the same region previously struck by other outbreaks earlier in the month from May 4-6 and on May 22. Many tornadoes in this outbreak remained in mostly unpopulated areas, and damage was generally limited outside of a few cases.
There were 271 tornadoes reported in the United States in June, 252 of which were confirmed.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of June 8-11, 2020
From June 8-11, a powerful trough moved over the Midwestern United States, prompting four consecutive days of tornado outbreaks. Each day featured at least one EF4, with June 9 having eight, the sixth highest number of violent tornadoes to occur in one day since 1950. The 142 total tornadoes makes the four day period one of the most active spans of severe weather in history. A long-track EF4 moved across northern Illinois on June 10, with a path length of over 90 miles. Perhaps the most remarkable occurrence to come out of this outbreak is New Albany, Ohio getting struck by a second intense tornado in under two months. While still recovering from an EF5 on April 23, a high-end EF3 tornado moved through the city on June 11, crossing some of the same areas that were impacted from the first tornado. Homes that were being rebuilt were again destroyed by the second tornado. The outbreak cost a total of $2.66 billion.
Scattered severe storms developed across northeast Kansas on June 18. The strongest storm produced a few brief, weak tornadoes, with the exception of one tornado which was Rated EF2. That tornado struck homes in the Alma area, causing severe damage before its quick demise.
Cyclical supercell (plus a few other tornadoes) - Scribner, NE-Dunlap, IA
An enhanced risk was issued by the SPC on June 24 for northern Indiana. This included a 30% damaging wind risk and a 10% tornado risk. Several slow-moving storms broke out that evening across northwest and north-central Indiana, many of which producing tornadoes. A low-end EF3 struck Leiters Ford that evening.
CO / WY
There were 101 tornadoes reported in the United States in July, 92 of which were confirmed.
- Main article: July 2020 Midwestern derecho
On the evening of July 3, a significant derecho caused widespread damaging winds across the Midwest and Great Lakes region before weakening in the mid-Atlantic states overnight.
Several severe storms moved across the northeast on July 9, with damaging winds occurring in northern Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine. A few tornadoes were spawned during this event, as well, the strongest of which being a low-end EF2 in southern New York.
Several weak tornadoes touched down across eastern and northeastern Colorado on July 13, some of which being very photogenic. Very limited damage occurred with this event. One extraneous tornado was also spawned in Missouri away from the main risk area.
Severe weather impacted North Dakota on July 18, with additional severe storms developing in Manitoba and Minnesota. Nine tornadoes touched down in North Dakota, including two low-end EF3's spawned by the same supercell which produced damage in the New Rockford and Fort Totten areas, respectively. Widespread large hail and isolated damaging winds coincided with the local tornado event.
On July 28, a slight risk was issued by the SPC for much of Montana and northern Wyoming. Isolated severe storms with severe wind gusts and large hail were expected, and there was a very conditional tornado risk. One storm produced a strong EF2 tornado which directly impacted the town of Nye, Montana, where two trailer homes were completely destroyed. Twelve other weak tornadoes were spawned in southern and eastern Montana, with one additional tornado occurring in northern Wyoming.
There were 77 tornadoes reported in the United States in August; however, 86 were confirmed.
A local outbreak of tornadoes impacted eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota on August 6. The two strongest tornadoes were rated EF3. The first EF3 struck the Arlington, South Dakota area around 7:30 pm CDT, causing one injury on its 6 mile path. It was accompanied by a satellite tornado at one point, as well. The second EF3 tornado struck the St. Leo, Minnesota area around 8:30 pm CDT. This tornado was a large, highly-visible wedge that destroyed three homes in the area, though no one was injured. Fifteen other tornadoes occurred that evening, including three EF2s.
Severe storms erupted across Iowa, Illinois, and northern Missouri on the afternoon and evening of August 11, prompting two severe thunderstorm watches across the area. While the main threats were expected to mainly be widespread damaging winds and large hail, several weak tornadoes occurred, as well. Two strong EF2 tornadoes impacted both Ottumwa, Iowa, and Industry, Illinois with the activity that evening.
There were 76 tornadoes reported in the United States in September, 63 of which were confirmed.
A small tornado event took place from September 12-13 in the northeast and mid-Atlantic. On September 12th, ten tornadoes struck western Pennsylvania, including an EF2 which struck Moon Township. Two other EF2s impacted the region, as well. This activity moved east and southeast through the evening. By midday on September 13th, storms developed in Maryland and Virginia, spawning seven more tornadoes, the strongest of which was another EF2.
There were 91 tornadoes reported in the United States in October, 81 of which were confirmed.
On the evening of October 17, severe weather was anticipated to occur across Indiana and adjacent areas of the Great Lakes region. While the main threat was slated to be damaging winds associated with a squall line, there was a tornado risk with any embedded supercells and QLCS circulations. Eleven tornadoes touched down, the strongest of which an EF3 which struck Windfall City, Indiana directly, causing severe damage and resulting in three injuries.
- Main article: October 2020 North American storm complex
There were 90 tornadoes reported in the United States in November, 88 of which were confirmed.
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of November 14, 2020
- Main article: Tornado outbreak of November 26-27, 2020
Thanksgiving night into Black Friday
There were 39 tornadoes reported in the United States in December, all of which were confirmed.