Above Average Number of Tornadoes in Oklahoma This Year

A meteorologist with the federal government’s Storm Prediction Center said on May 31 that Oklahoma has seen a greater than average number of tornadoes so far in 2011.

Preliminary data from the agency show 63 reports of tornadoes in Oklahoma from January through May 30. But Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center, said he believes that number includes duplicate reports. He estimated the final tornado numbers for January to May will probably be in the 55-to-60 range.

That would still be above the average of 37 tornadoes for the time period. For the past 10 years, the five-month average for tornadoes has been 44, Carbin said.

“So we’ll come in slightly above that,” he said. “We’ll be above 44, but not significantly above and certainly not in the range of beating ’99.”

1999 had the most tornadoes in Oklahoma for the January-to-May time period — 116, according to the National Weather Service in Norman.

May is typically the most active month for tornadoes in Oklahoma.

While tornadoes can happen at any time, Carbin said he doesn’t think the number will increase significantly during the rest of the year.

“We’ve probably had the bulk of ours in Oklahoma,” he said.

The NWS said two twisters that struck the state last week have been finalized as EF-4 tornadoes, while one twister is still being investigated as a possible EF-5, the highest rating.

A tornado that traveled 30 miles from Chickasha to near Moore and another twister on the ground for 27 miles from Washington to Goldsby had wind speeds of 190 mph and have been upgraded from an EF-3 rating to EF-4.

A third twister, which traveled from Binger to Guthrie, has been given a preliminary EF-4 rating and is still being investigated as a possible EF-5.

Three other twisters were rated EF-3 or below. A twister that hit near Stella has not been rated.