Tornado Alley’s Most Devastating Years

March 19, 2019 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Source: Tom Pennington / Getty Images

“Tornado Alley” is the nickname given to the south-central region of the United States, where tornadoes tend to form at high frequency. Tornado Alley is not to be confused with Dixie Alley, which comprises the Gulf Coast area and also endures high frequency of tornadoes later in the year. It is important to note that tornadoes can happen anywhere in the United States, and at any time of year.

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 Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota — the states within what is considered as Tornado Alley — the total injuries and fatalities in every year since 1950 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center. Data for 2018 is current through August.

Click here to see Tornado Alley’s most devastating years.

Source: Courtesy of NOAA

1950
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 312 (21st most)
> State with most injuries: Nebraska (135 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (11 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1950: 202 (80 in alley states)

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Source: Evans / Three Lions / Getty Images

1951
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 262 (28th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (118 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (8 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1951: 260 (146 in alley states)

Source: Courtesy of NOAA

1952
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 39 (6th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Nebraska (21 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Not available
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1952: 243 (68 in alley states)

Source: Courtesy of NOAA / C&GS Season's Report 1953-11

1953
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 987 (4th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (834 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (150 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1953: 429 (171 in alley states)

Source: Evans / Three Lions / Getty Images

1954
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 275 (27th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (134 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Nebraska (7 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1954: 558 (230 in alley states)

Source: pagedooley / Flickr

1955
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 1,252 (2nd most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (852 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (123 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1955: 597 (324 in alley states)

Source: Graham Moore / Getty Images

1956
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 293 (22nd most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (219 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (7 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1956: 509 (209 in alley states)

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Source: Mr. Robert E. Day / SELS Weather Bureau / Wikimedia Commons

1957
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 795 (6th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (489 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (51 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1957: 862 (389 in alley states)

Source: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

1958
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 106 (18th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (53 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (15 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1958: 569 (220 in alley states)

Source: Photo by Bert Hoyt / Three Lions / Getty Images

1959
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 120 (26th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (64 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (8 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1959: 609 (277 in alley states)

Source: Express / Getty Images

1960
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 527 (12th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (319 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (35 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1960: 617 (287 in alley states)

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Source: Express Newspapers / Getty Images

1961
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 421 (17th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (278 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (17 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1961: 707 (274 in alley states)

Source: Seattle Municipal Archives / Wikimedia Commons

1962
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 167 (35th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (57 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (1 death)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1962: 662 (350 in alley states)

Source: Three Lions / Getty Images

1963
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 28 (3rd fewest)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (11 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (1 death)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1963: 469 (167 in alley states)

Source: Courtesy of NOAA

1964
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 281 (25th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (132 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (8 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1964: 709 (298 in alley states)

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1965
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 238 (30th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (96 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (6 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1965: 907 (360 in alley states)

Source: Orange County Archives / Flickr

1966
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 559 (10th most)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (513 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (17 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1966: 588 (188 in alley states)

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Source: Yoichi Okamoto / Wikimedia Commons

1967
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 117 (25th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (44 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (5 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1967: 933 (373 in alley states)

Source: Photo by Terry Fincher / Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1968
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 51 (9th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (16 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (0 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1968: 661 (254 in alley states)

Source: NASA on the Commons / Flickr

1969
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 167 (34th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (78 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (3 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1969: 611 (225 in alley states)

Source: NOAA / AOML / Hurricane Research Division

1970
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 906 (5th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (736 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (51 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1970: 660 (245 in alley states)

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Source: deepspacedave / Getty Images

1971
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 214 (32nd most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (178 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1971: 895 (368 in alley states)

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

1972
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 90 (15th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (63 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (5 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1972: 744 (280 in alley states)

Source: David Falconer / Wikimedia Commons

1973
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 552 (11th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (212 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (14 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1973: 1,106 (325 in alley states)

Source: Comstock / Getty Images

1974
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 597 (8th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (301 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (16 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1974: 956 (238 in alley states)

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1975
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 289 (23rd most)
> State with most injuries: Nebraska (141 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (10 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1975: 921 (278 in alley states)

1976
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 170 (34th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (77 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (5 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1976: 840 (250 in alley states)

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Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1977
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 79 (13th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (59 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (1 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1977: 856 (289 in alley states)

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

1978
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 35 (5th fewest)
> State with most injuries: South Dakota (15 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (19 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1978: 795 (255 in alley states)

Source: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

1979
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 3823 (The most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (3,646 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (108 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1979: 860 (289 in alley states)

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1980
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 281 (25th most)
> State with most injuries: Nebraska (204 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Nebraska (5 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1980: 870 (286 in alley states)

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Source: Photo by NOAA Photo Library / Getty Images

1981
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 227 (31st most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (100 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (6 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1981: 784 (329 in alley states)

Source: Perszing1982 / Getty Images

1982
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 527 (12th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (269 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (14 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1982: 1,057 (429 in alley states)

Source: Bradmays / Wikimedia Commons

1983
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 130 (28th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (85 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (8 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1983: 934 (349 in alley states)

Source: Steve Powell / Getty Images

1984
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 355 (20th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (214 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (13 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1984: 915 (288 in alley states)

Source: clintspencer / Getty Images

1985
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 95 (16th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (54 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (4 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1985: 694 (252 in alley states)

Source: Space Frontiers / Getty Images

1986
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 159 (33rd fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (120 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (3 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1986: 772 (299 in alley states)

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Source: gaiamoments / Getty Images

1987
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 470 (14th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (458 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (43 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1987: 659 (231 in alley states)

Source: Alan Light / Flickr

1988
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 48 (8th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (24 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Nebraska (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1988: 702 (155 in alley states)

Source: Tim DeFrisco / Getty Images

1989
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 86 (14th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (75 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (1 death)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1989: 863 (257 in alley states)

Source: WestWindGraphics / Getty Images

1990
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 190 (33rd most)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (86 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1990: 1,141 (375 in alley states)

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Source: Lars Plougmann / Wikimedia Commons

1991
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 394 (18th most)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (259 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (19 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1991: 1,138 (480 in alley states)

Source: NOAA / National Weather Service / Wikimedia Commons

1992
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 113 (21st fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (53 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Not available
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1992: 1,303 (461 in alley states)

Source: Dan Lockton / Flickr

1993
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 285 (24th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (133 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (7 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1993: 1,178 (448 in alley states)

Source: Meindert van der Haven / Getty Images

1994
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 116 (24th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (98 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (4 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1994: 1,088 (361 in alley states)

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

1995
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 128 (27th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (108 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (6 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1995: 1,245 (419 in alley states)

Source: Markbellis / Wikimedia Commons

1996
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 141 (30th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (99 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1996: 1,177 (360 in alley states)

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Source: Stephen Munday / Getty Images

1997
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 68 (11th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (60 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (29 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1997: 1,151 (373 in alley states)

Source: Ichabod / Wikimedia Commons

1998
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 243 (29th most)
> State with most injuries: South Dakota (152 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: South Dakota (6 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1998: 1,432 (369 in alley states)

Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

1999
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 996 (3rd most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (686 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (42 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 1999: 1,351 (514 in alley states)

Source: Robert King / Getty Images

2000
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 108 (20th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (93 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (4 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2000: 1,077 (328 in alley states)

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

2001
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 105 (17th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (49 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (1 death)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2001: 1,222 (392 in alley states)

Source: Photo by Michael Williams / Getty Images

2002
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 74 (12th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (72 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (3 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2002: 943 (326 in alley states)

Source: Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

2003
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 437 (15th most)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (178 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (19 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2003: 1,394 (488 in alley states)

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

2004
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 63 (10th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Nebraska (42 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2004: 1,829 (510 in alley states)

Source: Marianne Todd / Getty Images

2005
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 2 (The fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (2 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Not available
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2005: 1,264 (327 in alley states)

Source: cfrausto / Flickr

2006
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 114 (23rd fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (54 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (4 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2006: 1,121 (283 in alley states)

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Source: clintspencer / Getty Images

2007
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 144 (31st fewest)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (82 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Kansas (14 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2007: 1,105 (477 in alley states)

Source: Pool / Getty Images

2008
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 589 (9th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (509 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (27 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2008: 1,712 (470 in alley states)

Source: mdesigner125 / Getty Images

2009
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 48 (7th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (19 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (8 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2009: 1,167 (339 in alley states)

Source: Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Stumberg / Wikimedia Commons

2010
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 149 (32nd fewest)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (139 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (7 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2010: 1,296 (373 in alley states)

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Source: nickalbi / Getty Images

2011
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 423 (16th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (408 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (14 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2011: 1,728 (363 in alley states)

Source: 22746515@N02 / Flickr

2012
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 134 (29th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Kansas (50 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (6 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2012: 946 (326 in alley states)

Source: Minerva Studio / Getty Images

2013
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 358 (19th most)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (270 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (34 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2013: 922 (285 in alley states)

Source: spacex / Flickr

2014
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 108 (19th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (49 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2014: 896 (194 in alley states)

Source: Victor Maschek / Shutterstock.com

2015
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 775 (7th most)
> State with most injuries: Texas (708 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (17 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2015: 1,193 (529 in alley states)

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Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

2016
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 35 (4th fewest)
> State with most injuries: Oklahoma (13 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Oklahoma (2 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2016: 983 (318 in alley states)

Source: Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images

2017
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 114 (22nd fewest)
> State with most injuries: Texas (71 injuries)
> State with most fatalities: Texas (4 deaths)
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2017: 1,450 (360 in alley states)

Source: NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

2018
> Tornado-related injuries in 5 alley states: 8
> State with most injuries: Kansas
> State with most fatalities: Not available
> Number of US-wide tornadoes in 2018 through August: 648 (134 in alley states)