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Tornado Records*

Record high tornadoes for September, August

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Tornadoes spawned by hurricanes set records in August and September.

Damage from one of Hurricane Ivan's tornadoes in Panama City, Fla.

By Philip Coales, AP

The U.S. National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said Thursday that 173 tornadoes were reported in August and 247 in September. The national average for September is 47.

Based on tornado records going back to 1950, this significantly tops the previous September record of 139 tornadoes set in 1967. Other high numbers for September include 104 in 1998, 101 in 1996, and 84 in 2001.

"The extremely active tropical storm season can be partially blamed for the high number of tornado reports," said Dan McCarthy of the Center. Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states during September.

Tornadoes frequently occur in the northeast quadrant of northward advancing tropical systems or their remnants. "This is the sector where wind shear has its greatest affects on storms in the rain band," McCarthy said.

Wind shear refers to winds that are close together moving in opposite directions, or at different speeds. This can give the atmosphere a twisting motion, which can lead to tornadoes.

With 117 reports, Hurricane Frances produced the most tornadoes ever, topping Hurricane Beulah's 115 tornadoes in September 1967.

Hurricane Ivan was close with 104 tornado reports, and a total of 16 tornadoes were reported in association with Hurricane Jeanne.

In August, Tropical Storm Bonnie had 30 tornado reports, and Hurricane Charley had 25 reported tornadoes.

"With a total of 292 tornado reports associated with land-falling tropical systems, this has been the most active period since 1967," McCarthy said. "Never has there been four tropical systems producing so many tornado reports affecting Florida northward into Maryland."

There were eight tornado-related deaths in September and three in August.

The total number of tornadoes reported in 2004 so far is 1,516 which already surpasses 1998's record total of 1,424 tornadoes for the year.


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