What Country Has the Most Tornadoes?

What Country Has the Most Tornadoes? Get Your Answer

What Country Has the Most Tornadoes?Each year we add new tornadoes to the list. Some leave with us with death in their wake. You can’t prevent it. This worldwide phenomenon has been here since forever.

When was the first tornado? Nobody knows! The earliest known tornado was in 788, inside the boundaries of Freising, current Germany.

Although it happens almost everywhere, some countries are more unfortunate than others. What country has the most tornadoes?

The answer depends on the severity, duration, and level of damage caused by tornadoes. You also have to factor in the number of tornadoes per square km of area.

You can’t cover all of history in a single article. But we can get an idea from the recent history. And that is what we’ll try to accomplish in this article. So, bear with me.

What Country Experiences the Most Tornadoes?

With the right conditions, tornadoes can appear anywhere in the world. But some countries have it the worst. Below, we’ll go over the history of 9 of the common countries affected by tornadoes.

1. United States of America

United States of America

If there’s one place in the world that’s heavily affected by catastrophic natural calamities, it’s the USA. Due to the geographical location, it experiences thousands of tornadoes each year.

The tornado alley of the world is in the USA. Although it doesn’t have any fixed boundaries, it begins in the southern plains and ends in the Canadian border through Midwest.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected the USA?

According to NOAA, over 14 thousand tornadoes have formed in the USA since 2010. And 2011 was the worst year in terms of tornado frequency and the damage caused by it.

What’s apparent from the track record of tornado formation is that with the passing of each decade, we are seeing more and more tornadoes. But it might be that we’re more capable of observing and confirming tornadoes with the availability of technology.

Let’s have a look at the 2010-2021 tornado climatology in the United States of America.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

1282

2011

1691

2012

938

2013

906

2014

886

2015

1177

2016

976

2017

1429

2018

1126

2019

1517

2020

1075*

2021

1376*

Location of the Tornadoes

It’s the tornado alley. The great plains of the central United States have an ideal condition for the formation of tornadoes. This is the spot where dry and cold air comes from Canada moving and mixes with the warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last in the USA?

No matter how dangerous a tornado may seem, they are very short-lived if you count it by the numbers. An average tornado can last from a few seconds to a couple of hours.

The longest tornado lasted about 3 and a half hours and moved from Missouri to Indian. But that was almost a century ago. There hasn’t been such a long tornado in the USA for a while now.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Damages caused by tornadoes in the USA are more than what you’d expect even in such an advanced age.

The most damaging tornado in the last century was in the last decade. It’s the year 2011. And then a tornado in 2021 was also responsible for hundred fatalities.

Year

Fatalities

2010

45

2011

553

2012

70

2013

55

2014

47

2015

36

2016

18

2017

35

2018

10

2019

42

2020

76

2021

101

When Is the Tornado Season in the USA?

Spring season, which means May and June, are the peak months for tornadoes in the USA. But the southeast parts of the country see a peak in tornado formation in fall and early winter. And that’s around December.

2. Canada

Canada

In terms of landmass, Canada is larger than the USA but it only sees a fraction of the number of tornadoes. And that is too because of the stretched tornado alley.

Yes, the “Tornado Alley” doesn’t end with the US border. It stretches inside the Canadian border from southern Alberta through Saskatchewan and from southern Manitoba to northwest Ontario. It’s the same warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico causing these tornadoes.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected Canada?

It comes in 2nd with around 80 tornadoes each year. The numbers below only indicate the confirmed number of tornadoes.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

Fatalities

2010

23

45

2011

19

553

2012

58

70

2013

53

55

2014

40

47

2015

23

36

2016

56

18

2017

44

35

2018

36

10

2019

44

42

2020

78

76

2021

99

101

Location of the Tornadoes

In Canada, tornadoes are commonly formed around the areas of tornado alley, namely Southern Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta. You’ll also see New Brunswick, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan coming up in discussions.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last in Canada?

The average tornado duration is quite similar in many parts of the world. It can range from a few minutes to an hour.

But the Canadian 3-hour long tornado is believed to be among the longest tornadoes on the planet. Despite having lasted for so long, it didn’t manage to do any significant damage. The only one matching its duration was the tri-state tornado in the USA.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Tornado disaster is being minimized with the use of new technology. But it still is one of the most harmful natural calamities. The good news is that the Canadian planning brought down the damage to almost nothing. In the last decade, only a handful of people were very unfortunate, unlike the tornadoes of the ’70s and ’80s.

When Is the Tornado Season in Canada?

Tornadoes in Canada form mostly between the months April and September. The tornadoes of June-July usually have the strongest winds.

3. United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Europe isn’t known for being a top zone for frequent tornado formation. That being said, the UK does come up in the discussion quite a lot. The good news is that the country doesn’t experience monster tornadoes as much as it does in the USA or Canada.

The tornadoes here are much smaller compared to the ones in the US. So the damage is less significant as well.

How Many Tornadoes Happen a Year in the UK?

On average, England gets 30-50 tornadoes every year. These include both confirmed and unconfirmed ones. But the UK has a record of having the most tornadoes per area.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

23

2011


19

2012

58

2013

53

2014

40

2015

23

2016

56

2017

44

2018

36

2019

44

2020

78

2021

99

Location of the Tornadoes

The UK also has a tornado alley of its own. Many people do not know this since it’s not as significant as the tornado alley running through USA and Canada.

The scientists at the University of Manchester have mapped out UK’s tornadoes and tried to picture the area of the tornado alley. They say that the area from Berkshire into London was the most likely place to be hit by a tornado – once every 17 years.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last?

In the UK, the average lifespan of a tornado doesn’t go over an hour.

The 2005 Birmingham tornado was rated as an F2 tornado. But even that only lasted 8 minutes. Compared to that, the El Reno tornado lasted 5 times more. With 40 minutes, it was the longest tornado in the last 50 years.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

According to the Met Office UK, the tornadoes formed in the UK are generally far less damaging than other parts of the world experience. There are exceptions, such as the tornado outbreak in 2005. On July 28, 2005, the Birmingham tornado tore through the city.

Generally, the UK tornadoes only damage the building. The strength needed for uprooting trees and poles in the electrical line is not as common as in the USA. The 2005 Birmingham tornado was the exception as it injured 19 people and uprooted around 1000 trees. There was another tornado more damaging than this one.

It’s the El Reno tornado in 2013 that took the lives of 8 people. 4 storm chasers got trapped in the track of the tornado. This tornado was the widest in UK’s recorded history.

When Is the Tornado Season in the UK?

According to the University of Manchester, most of the UK’s tornadoes occur from May to October.

4. Germany

Germany

This central European country falls inside the assumed Tornado Alley of Europe that runs from Northeast France through Germany to Poland.

How many Tornadoes have affected Germany?

The list below only contains the number of confirmed tornadoes that dealt damage to lives and properties. You can see the low amount of tornadoes strong enough to damage property. It’s all thanks to Germany’s stronger construction design.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

2

2011

1

2012

1

2013

2

2014

1

2015

4

2016

2

2017

1

2018

1

2019

2

2020

0

2021

6

Location of the Tornadoes

Three different regions in Germany see tornado activity. They are the northern coastal region, the hilly terrain of southern and mid-Germany. In summer, a zone in the southwest experiences a few tornadoes.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last?

The average tornado in Germany lasts from several seconds to a few minutes. There haven’t been any reports of an hour-long tornado in recent times.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Germany’s high standard of building design and construction makes sure that damage dealt by natural calamities is kept at a minimum. Fatalities from tornadoes are quite rare. The last report of a fatal tornado attack was in 2017 where two people died.

The series of tornadoes on May 13, 2015, dealt damages worth 50 million euros with 250 buildings partially damaged. These tornadoes reached level 3 on the Fujita scale, which is rare in Germany’s history.

When Is the Tornado Season in Germany?

In Germany, most tornadoes form in July, but you can also see a few occurrences from November to February.

5. Bangladesh

Bangladesh

Tornadoes are not as frequent as it is in the countries above. But the rare occasions it faces tornadoes can be more catastrophic than any other place.

This small country has the record of one of the worst tornadoes in history that occurred on April 26, 1989. The Daulatpur-Saturia tornado took the lives of 1300 people.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected Bangladesh?

Bangladesh experiences only a few tornadoes each year. The highest number of tornadoes forming in a single is 5 and that was in 2011.

Most years see one or two confirmed tornadoes. Below is a rough estimate of the few confirmed tornado occurrences.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

1

2011

5

2012

1

2013

1

2014

1

2015

0

2016

1

2017

1

2018

1

2019

1

2020

0

2021

1

Location of the Tornadoes

The area most prone to a tornado attack is just beside the capital Dhaka. It’s the southern and central parts of Bangladesh. Districts such as Faridpur, Madaripur, and Chandpur have seen the most number of tornadoes in the past. There haven’t been any significant reports of tornadoes forming in other parts of Bangladesh.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last?

Despite the small number of tornadoes occurring in Bangladesh, they can be devastating. Part of the reason is that they last very long. The Daulatpur-Saturia tornado lasted almost 1 and ½ hours. But the average tornado duration is a few minutes to half an hour. The 1996 tornado lasted half hour.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Each time a tornado hits Bangladesh, it leaves a trail of damages. The 1989 tornado took the lives of 1300 people, and 600 people lost their lives during the 1996 tornado.

The reason behind such losses is the weak infrastructure. Thankfully, Bangladesh has stood up to the challenge and sees a lot less damage. Still, the village area is prone to damages.

When Is the Tornado Season in Bangladesh?

Tornadoes in Bangladesh form mainly between March to May and peak in April. The pre-monsoon season creates the most favorable conditions.

6. New Zealand

New Zealand

Tornadoes are a rare phenomenon in New Zealand, but they do occur. While that’s similar to Bangladesh, they are not as damaging as in Bangladesh.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected New Zealand?

Since NZ doesn’t see a lot of tornadoes, there isn’t a big statistics table like USA or Canada.

The most recent case of a tornado was last year which took the life of a citizen. Before that it was 2012 and 2011 that caused falalities.

Although New Zealand sees 7-8 strong winds which seems like a tornado, the confirmed number of tornadoes are very low.

The following table contains the confirmed number of tornadoes in New Zealand in the last decade.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010


1

2011


1

2012


1

2013


1

2014


1

2015


1

2016


1

2017


1

2018


1

2019


1

2020


1

2021


1

Location of the Tornadoes

NZ’s tornadoes are concentrated in the north part of the country on an island. Auckland is a city that sees more tornadoes than any other part of the country.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last in New Zealand?

A tornado in NZ only typically lasts for a few minutes.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Tornadoes do not bring big-scale damages in New Zealand. The biggest tornado in NZ history was in 1948, which caused 3 deaths and 12 injuries which is virtually nothing compared to what happens in places like USA and Bangladesh.

The tornadoes of 2012, 2011, and 2005 saw a total of 6 deaths. 4 of them were in Auckland, and 2 of them were in Waitara.

They are extremely localized, hence the damaging ability isn’t enough to cause a substantial amount of loss.

When Is the Tornado Season in New Zealand?

The tornado season in NZ isn’t well-defined. But from the previous history I gather, they happen between May and December.

7. Japan

Japan

We all know Japan as the land of Tsunamis and Typhoons but tornadoes are not rare. But they can be extremely devastating when coupled with typhoons.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected Japan?

Tornado occurrences are on the lower side in Japan. From 2007 to 2017, it has averaged 23 tornadoes, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. When comparing the statistics of USA, it seems to be a negligible amount.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

37

2011

15

2012

28

2013


33

2014

21

2015

26

2016

18

2017

10

The years 2018 and 2019 were some of the worst years for Japan as it experienced quite a few typhoons in such a short time. And many tornadoes occurred during those typhoons that could not be confirmed or denied.

Location of the Tornadoes

In Japan, most tornadoes occur in the coastal regions. Kanto district seems to be the exception as here, tornadoes occur far from the coastal areas.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last?

Tornadoes are short-lived in Japan. These do not last more than half an hour, with most lasting a few minutes or less.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Tornadoes aren’t as devastating in Japan as in Bangladesh or other Asian countries. According to research, only 16 out of 600 tornadoes cause fatal injuries, which tells you the picture. And the amount of fatal injuries hasn’t yet reached double digits.

However, the typhoons that come after tornadoes take much credit for the damage.

Most of the damage is confined to structural damage to buildings and power lines.

When Is the Tornado Season in Japan?

In Japan, tornadoes occur mostly in September and a few in March. On rare occasions, there could be a few tornadoes in the May-June period.

8. Brazil

Brazil

This South American country falls inside the highly tornadic region of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay. In recent year, it saw the most number of tornadoes compared to its neighbor countries.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected Brazil?

Recently, Brazil is seeing 5-6 tornadoes on average each year. It includes both confirmed and unconfirmed tornadoes. And they are mostly weak or in unpopulated areas.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

1

2011

1

2012

1

2013

1

2014

1

2015

5

2016

6

2017

8

2018

1

2019

1

2020

2

2021

1

Location of the Tornadoes

In recent history, the strongest tornado in Brazil was the F3 tornado in 2005 in the southern hemisphere. It’s the city of Indaiatuba. Areas that see tornadoes commonly are Sau Paulo. Rio Grande Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana.

How Long Did the Average Tornado Last in Brazil?

A tornado will last a few minutes in Brazil. The strongest tornado that occurred in San Justo had a duration under 10 minutes.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Fatalities and injuries are pretty common for Brazil’s tornadoes. Every year, a couple of people die and a handful of injuries.

In the 2005 tornado disaster 10+ people lost their lives and the country saw R$97 million worth of structural damage.

When Is the Tornado Season in Brazil?

In Brazil, tornadoes can occur in any time of the year. If we were to pick the most likely months it’d be from June-November.

9. South Africa

South Africa

It may come as a surprise to you, but South Africa sees lots of tornadoes inside its border. In recent times, the years from 2014-2019 saw the most number of tornadoes formed. Is that a result of the change in climate conditions? The experts in SA such as Jan De Waal of Stellenbosch University seem to think so.

But the fortunate people of South Africa seldom experience fatal disasters.

How Many Tornadoes Have Affected South Africa?

The number of tornadoes does not reach double digits in most years. There were only 4 confirmed tornadoes in 2010. And the year 2016 was the complete opposite with over 30 tornadoes.

Year

Number of Tornadoes

2010

4

2011

9

2012

9

2013

6

2014

22

2015

18

2016

35

2017

32

2018

24

2019

18

2020

4

2021

0

Check out the extensive information on South African Tornadoes.

Location of the Tornadoes

According to the SAWS (South African Weather Service), most of the tornadoes in SA have been observed in a few areas such as Gauteng, the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and the northern parts of the former Transkei.

How Long Does the Average Tornado Last in SA?

The average duration of a tornado in South Africa doesn’t go over one hour. Most of the tornadoes vanish in the air in a matter of minutes.

The Level of Damage Caused by the Tornadoes

Despite the increase in tornado formations, they are much less severe. Over 65% of the tornadoes in South Africa are classified as F0 or F1.

The last deadliest tornado was in 1999, and it was an F4. That was the Mount Ayliff tornado. It tore through Mount Ayliff and Tabankulu and left 95% of people of that area homeless, and there were 25 fatalities.

When Is the Tornado Season in South Africa?

Most of the tornadoes in SA form in mid-summer (November to January). On occasions, tornadoes do occur between September and October and a few in March-April.

Comparison Between the Tornado History of the 9 Countries

The following comparison table outlines a simple history of each of the most tornado-prone countries.

Country

Tornado Count per year

Average Tornado Fujita Scale

Highest Fujita Scale Ever

Estimated Number of Fatalities in last 12 years

USA

1000+

F3-F4

F5

1000+

Canada

80-100

F1

F4

Less than 50

UK

30-50

F1

F2

Less than 50

Germany

20

F0-1

F2

10

Bangladesh

6

F0-1

F3

Less than 50

New Zealand

3-5

F0-1

F2

6

Japan

20

F1-2

F3

15

Brazil

7

F2

F4

12

South Africa

10

F0-1

F3

6

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the USA have so many tornadoes?

It is due to the geographical location. The mixing of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and the cold dry air from the south of the USA makes for the perfect condition for the formation of tornadoes.

What country has no tornadoes?

Tornadoes have been observed everywhere except the continent of Antarctica.

Does Russia have tornadoes?

Yes, the Russian population does experience tornadoes, but that’s a rare incident. The last mentionable tornado that occurred in Russia happened 10 years ago.

What is the tornado capital of the world?

Oklahoma, USA, is known to be the tornado capital of the world. It’s the spot where the tornadoes reach their peak. Winds have been recorded to be moving at speed of 400 kilometers per hour.

Has there been an F6 tornado?

No, there hasn’t been such a tornado because the Fujita scale doesn’t have the category. Ted Fujita did put a level 6 wind, but for tornadoes, it only goes up to F5. So an F6 tornado is very likely to be labeled as an F5 tornado.

Final Words

I think we have the answer to our question: what country has the most tornadoes? USA is the obvious answer, although the UK tops the tornado count per area.

Although the amount of death and damages are lower, containment and minimization of tornado damage haven’t been much successful in the USA.

People still die from tornadoes, unlike in Germany. The building standards need to be higher in the USA to achieve a minimal loss after each tornado.

On the other hand, you have 3rd world countries like Bangladesh suffering from fewer but stronger tornadoes. As a result, the country sees a lot of tornado deaths even today.

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