Are tornadoes becoming more common in Louisiana?
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been tracking tornadoes for decades.
Their data tracks the number of tornadoes in a year.
While the number of tornadoes in any single year fluctuates, the average number over a ten-year span has been increasing in Louisiana since 1950. Meteorologists attribute this mainly to two things; better technology to detect and report twisters, as well as warmer Gulf water.
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In the 23-year span between 1950 and 1973, NOAA reported an average of 17 tornadoes per year in Louisiana and no more than 35 in a single year.
In the 1980s, the average jumps to 33, with a high of 71 tornadoes on the ground in 1983.
In the 1990s, the average increases again to 40. The highest number of tornadoes per year in that decade was 74 in 1990 followed by 72 in 1999.
Between 2000-2009, the average moved to 44 tornadoes per year. In both 2008 and 2009, 82 tornadoes struck Louisiana.
Since 2010, Louisiana has suffered an average of 55 tornadoes per year, with a three-year record-high span of 97 in 2017, 103 in 2018, and 94 in 2019.
INJURIES AND FATALITIES
Since 1950, NOAA says 2,887 people have been injured by tornadoes and 173 killed in Louisiana, not including three people killed and dozens injured in the tornado outbreak on Wed., Dec. 14.
The highest number of people injured in any year was 291 in 1978, which also saw four deaths. An EF-4 in downtown Shreveport killed two people and left 266 people injured, causing an estimated $250,000,000 in damage.
Fewer Louisianans have lost their lives to tornadoes in recent years. The deadliest years for tornadoes in Louisiana were 1950 (29), 1964 (22), 1957 (14), 1953 (13), and 1971 (12). No more than 10 people have died from tornadoes in any other year.
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