This analysis is based on preliminary data available from the Storm Prediction Center. Final tornado counts published by the Storm Prediction Center and NCEI's Storm Events Database might differ from this report. For a more detailed climatology, please visit our tornado climatology page.

According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, in March there were 101 preliminary tornado reports. This is above the 1991-2010 average of 80 tornadoes for March. The month's first significant tornado activity was during the overnight hours of March 2-3 in which more than a dozen tornadoes tracked across central Tennessee, which led to a billion-dollar disaster. Powerful EF-3 and EF-4 tornadoes caused considerable damage across downtown Nashville and several counties and towns east of Nashville. This damage included many homes, businesses, vehicles, 90 planes and numerous buildings at the John C. Tune airport (JWN) in Nashville. These tornadoes caused 25 fatalities. The month's second notable tornado activity was March 18 in which 16 tornadoes occurred across central Texas. There were no fatalities reported. The third outbreak occurred on March 31, in which there were also 16 tornadoes that impacted several states including Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. There were no fatalities and scattered property damage was reported with these late-March tornadoes.

Did You Know?

Tornado Count

Final monthly tornado counts are typically less than the preliminary count. This can be due to some phenomena being inaccurately reported as tornadic activity or a single tornado being reported multiple times. Tornado accounts are reported to the local National Weather Service forecast offices who are responsible for going into the field and verifying each tornado reported. This process often takes several months to complete. Once all reports have been investigated, the final count is published by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).

The Tornado Monthly Climate Reports are written using the preliminary numbers because the final data is not available at the time of production. Historically, for every 100 preliminary tornado reports, at least 65 tornadoes are confirmed. An error bar is depicted on the tornado count graphic representing this uncertainty in the preliminary tornado count.

The following U.S. studies performed by SPC meteorologists offer deeper context and discussion regarding the frequency and distribution of tornado intensity climatologies:

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Tornadoes Report for March 2020, published online April 2020, retrieved on February 28, 2024 from