Some people know of tornadoes only through movies and news reports. But for people in Tornado Alley and Dixie Alley, tornadoes are a common occurrence during certain parts of the year. In states like Texas and Alabama, residents are all too familiar with the need to rush for the shelter of the bathtub in response to a tornado warning.
Those living in areas prone to tornadoes are often willing to accept the occasional danger to live in nicer-weather regions. In fact, many of the states with the most tornadoes are also home to some of the cities with the best weather.
Tornadoes do not typically result in damage, injury, or loss of life. Approximately 1,200 tornadoes form in the United States each year. More than 75% are considered weak, classified as EF-0 to EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Damage Intensity Scale. Only about 5% are on the upper end of the intensity scale, EF-3 to EF-5, and are considered violent. An even smaller percentage reach the maximum level on the scale, EF-5, characterized by wind speed of 200 mph or higher and severe destruction.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed for every state the total number of unique tornadoes recorded between 1950 and the middle of 2018 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center. Total crop and property damage, as well as the total injuries and fatalities incurred for every year since 1950 also came from NOAA. Property damage figures are not available for years prior to 1996, and crop damage figures are not available until 2006.