According to data from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, during January, there were 16 preliminary tornado reports. This is well below the 1991-2010 average of 35 tornadoes for the month of January. The first tornado event for the month began on January 1, as four tornadoes produced scattered damage to homes, vehicles and infrastructure across central Georgia. These were weaker EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes. There was one reported injury and no fatalities.
The most destructive tornado event of the month occurred on January 25 in Fultondale, Alabama. This event produced an EF-3 tornado that caused widespread damage to homes, vehicles, businesses and infrastructure. Fultondale High School also was impacted and sustained major damage. At least 30 people were injured and there was one fatality.
Another notable event for the month occurred on January 27 when a pair of EF-1 tornadoes impacted Leon County in Florida. One of these tornadoes first touched down west of the Tallahassee International Airport. This tornado caused damage to several airport hangers, planes and other vehicles. There were no reported injuries or fatalities.
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, DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-21-0058.1.
- Mccarthy, Daniel & Schaefer, Joseph. (2004). Tornado trends over the past thirty years. paper presented at 14th Conference on Applied Meteorology.