Tornadoes are one of the most destructive natural phenomena on the planet. In the United States, they are also one of the most common. There were more than 72,000 tornadoes recorded in the United States from 1950 through 2020, resulting in nearly 6,000 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries, and property and crop damage in the billions of dollars.
Of course, parts of the United States are far more susceptible to tornadoes than others. Some states have reported fewer than several dozen tornadoes since 1950, and those tornadoes were mostly relatively weak, resulting in limited destruction. Meanwhile, other states have reported thousands of tornadoes over that period — and many of those tornadoes were devastating.
According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 139 tornadoes in Maine from 1950 through 2020 — the 12th fewest among states. These tornadoes directly resulted in one death and 20 injuries.
The most destructive tornado on record in Maine began in Androscoggin County on Thursday, July 14, 1988. The tornado brought winds in excess of 73 mph and caused an estimated $2.5 million in damages, not adjusted for inflation.
All data on the number of unique tornadoes recorded in every state between 1950 and 2020 is from NOAA. Total deaths and injuries are also from NOAA. We only considered those fatalities and injuries that were classified as having resulted directly from the tornado. The monetary value of damages for the most destructive tornado includes damage to both crops and property. These values are rough estimates reported by NOAA and are not adjusted for inflation. Other tornadoes in a given state could have resulted in equal damage, but for the purposes of this story, only one tornado was selected as representative.
|Rank||State||Total tornadoes; 1950-2020||Deaths resulting from tornadoes||Injuries resulting from tornadoes|
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