According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, during December, there were 30 preliminary tornado reports. This is above the 1991-2010 average of 24 tornadoes for the month of December. The most notable tornado event of the month occurred on December 23-24 across several Southern and Eastern states including Texas, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia with 23 total tornadoes. These tornadoes included 9 EF-0, 12 EF-1 and 1 EF-2 causing scattered damage to homes, businesses, vehicles and other structures. These tornadoes also caused several injuries but no fatalities.
Another notable event for the month occurred on December 16 when five tornadoes impacted Pinellas and Hillsborough counties on the West Coast of Florida. These were weaker EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes, but produced damage to homes, businesses and vehicles. There were no fatalities reported from these tornadoes.
Did You Know?
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:
Edwards, R., H. E. Brooks, and H. Cohn, 2021: Changes in tornado climatology accompanying the Enhanced
Fujita scale. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 60, 1465-1482
- Mccarthy, Daniel & Schaefer, Joseph. (2004). Tornado trends over the past thirty years. paper presented at 14th Conference on Applied Meteorology.