The Location Of Every Tornado Touchdown In America, Graphed

America has more tornado touchdowns on average than anywhere else in the world, but those touchdowns are not at all evenly distributed. These maps, which break down the coordinates of each tornado, illustrate exactly where the danger falls the heaviest. [UPDATE]


Tim Brice, a meteorologist with the NWS based out of El Paso, put together the series of graphs, which plot out every tornado occurring between 1950-2013 by its latitude and longitude.

You can see the charts for all tornadoes by latitude and longitude below. Especially interesting, though, are the GIFs above where Brice further breaks down the data to see which longitudes and latitudes were most often hit by very strong or by comparatively weaker tornadoes, ranging from F0 to F5.

It's striking to see how heavily hit the areas with the highest concentrations of tornadoes are, especially among the strongest categories. Also striking, though, is how distributed the tornadoes are even beyond their most common ranges, with a recorded tornado seen at almost every longitude or latitude.

Image for article titled The Location Of Every Tornado Touchdown In America, Graphed
Image for article titled The Location Of Every Tornado Touchdown In America, Graphed

UPDATE: Tim Brice, joined us in comments to explain just what might be behind the areas with the lowest frequencies:

I'm glad everyone has enjoyed the maps. What I found interesting about the maps were some of the distribution patterns. A lot of people have speculated about the lower tornado touchdown numbers centered around 37º Lat. Seems to me that this occurs about where the Appalachian mountains make their furthest westward extent. The mountains don't eliminate tornadoes, but they do lessen their frequency. On the Longitude map I found it interesting that you could clearly see how far west the moisture push was (or in this case wasn't) with a very sharp drop off at around 105º Lon. Also I noted a nice little spike around 81º corresponding to the tornadoes in Florida .


Images: Tim Brice, NWS



My wife, children, and myself all woke up at midnight this morning when our phones lit up with tornado warnings. After an hour in the basement we went back upstairs to sleep. Wisconsin is so awesome this time of year.