Tri-State tornadoes by the numbers: 1950 to now

Weather

Tornado forms near Eads, CO

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – With spring here, chances for severe weather have increased, but do some areas of the Tri-State see more tornadoes than others?

Tornadoes don’t follow rules and can occur anytime, anywhere. Since 1950, the Tri-state has seen just a little over 400 tornadoes.

Here’s a look, by state, at the numbers from 1950 through today. We’ll look at tornadoes per county and how the numbers break down per square mile.

Since counties are not the same size or shape, that must be factored in to make the results more accurate. A more accurate way is to take the number of tornadoes and divide it by the square miles of the county. It will result in a smaller number, but better representation of the area.

ILLINOIS

When you look at the actual numbers of tornadoes, Wayne County takes the lead with 26. Not far behind is White with 24. Wabash is a little lower at 18, and Edwards has seen the fewest with 11.

When county size is considered, it’s actually Wabash County leading with the most tornadoes per square mile. White and Wayne Counties are tied per square mile. Due to its size, Wayne County actually has seen the fewest tornadoes per square mile.

Of the tornadoes that occurred in our Illinois counties, 25 were F-2, six were F3, five were F4, and none were F5.

Tornadoes pay no attention to county lines, so while these numbers account for the number of tornadoes per county, there could have also been one or more moving through multiple counties.

INDIANA

When it comes to the actual number of tornadoes per county the top five are Pike at 29, Vanderburgh at 24, Dubois at 23, a tie between Gibson and Warrick at 22, and a tie for fifth with Posey and Spencer at 16.

When you base the number of tornadoes per square mile, Vanderburgh County leads fairly significantly even though it is the smallest geographically of the eight southwestern Indiana counties.

When it comes to ratings of significant tornadoes, which is an EF2 or higher, Pike county actually leads at 10 significant tornadoes with Spencer being the lowest with just one.

There has only been one tornado with a five rating, and that was in Perry county on April 3rd, 1975. That tornado took the lives of six people and injuring 76.

KENTUCKY

From 1950 to today, the counties in our Kentucky viewing area have been hit with just over 160 tornadoes.

When seeing who has been hit the most, Daviess county take the lead at 28. Not too far behind is Henderson at 26, Webster at 23, Muhlenberg at 22, and Union at 19.

Every county is different in shape and square mileage, so when calculated as tornadoes per square mile, note the change. Small Hancock county to quite large Daviess share the same tornadoes per square mile.

You’d think the largest county would have seen the most tornadoes, that’s not the case. Ohio county is the largest but it has seen some of the fewest tornadoes per square mile.

As for significant tornadoes, rated an EF2 or higher, Henderson has seen the most at 13. Daviess and Webster have seen 11, Muhlenberg at 9, and Hopkins and Ohio are at eight. Thankfully none of our Kentucky counties have seen an F5 or EF5 rated tornado.

(This story was originally published on May 26, 2021)

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