Alabama is #1 for severe weather reports in 2023

No state has had more tornadoes than Alabama so far
Damage from a tornado
Damage from a tornado
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:24 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:53 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - If you think 2023 has been active here in Alabama, you are 100% correct. The year has featured numerous rounds of strong and severe thunderstorms, bringing with them tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail, and flooding.

January has been the most active month so far. Alabama broke its own record for most confirmed tornadoes to ever occur in a January with 29. All of those touched down during the outbreaks of January 3-4 and January 12.

The January 12 outbreak is the one that brought the long-track EF3 tornado that ravaged Autauga, Elmore, Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Chambers counties. It was on the ground for over 80 miles, placing it firmly in the top-10 for tornado path length in Alabama history.

Alabama leads the way for total tornadoes so far in 2023.
Alabama leads the way for total tornadoes so far in 2023.(WSFA 12 News)

February was another very active month across the U.S. for tornadoes and severe weather. Fortunately there were no tornadoes in Alabama during the month of February. There were still plenty of other severe weather reports to be had.

March has also been very active across the country with less than two days left to go in the month. As a whole, the U.S. has seen well over 1,000 severe weather reports. That includes tornadoes (73), damaging winds (709) and large hail (282).

Alabama ranks 1st or 2nd in the U.S. for tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind reports.
Alabama ranks 1st or 2nd in the U.S. for tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind reports.(WSFA 12 News)

When you add all of the months together, Alabama stands at 311 total severe weather reports. Of those, 64 are reports of tornadoes, 198 are reports related to damaging wind and 49 are large hail reports.

The 311 total severe reports is the highest of any state. The 64 tornado damage reports is also the highest of any state by a long shot. Behind Alabama’s 64 tornado reports is Georgia with 37, Mississippi with 28, and Texas with 28.

Alabama ranks 2nd for damaging wind and large hail reports as of March 27th. Only Georgia has had more damaging wind reports, and only Texas has been impacted by more large hail events.

Alabama averages 15 tornadoes per April.
Alabama averages 15 tornadoes per April.(NOAA)

So what comes next? Historically speaking our most active month of the year for severe weather is next up. April, on average, brings more tornadoes and severe weather to Alabama than any other month.

That doesn’t guarantee that April 2023 will be active. It’s possible to have an April that isn’t that active; that’s not unheard of. It’s also very possible to have other months be more active than April.

What we can do is look at the climatology for April. A typical April brings 15 tornadoes to Alabama. The only state that sees more than that is Texas with 26. It’s important to remember this is an average number; some years have a quiet April, some have a hyperactive April.

I will say that the overall pattern in the U.S. favors continued chances for severe weather through at least the first half of April. That doesn’t mean Alabama will be in the bullseye each time, it just means more rounds of severe thunderstorms appear likely somewhere across the eastern half of the U.S. heading into April.

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