Tornado Deaths In The US Hit A 30-Year Low, But We Don't Know Why

Twisters killed 17 Americans in 2016.

Tornado Deaths In The US Hit A 30-Year Low, But We Don't Know Why
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

There were fewer tornado deaths in the U.S. this year than there have been in decades.

Tornadoes killed 17 Americans in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Storm Prediction Center. That's the second lowest tornado death toll since 1950.

The lowest number of people killed by tornadoes since 1950 was in 1986 when twisters killed 15 people.

A tornado.

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You're more likely to see a string of tornadoes today than you were 50 years ago, but scientists aren't sure what the cause is.


The number of tornadoes was down this year, too. As of Dec. 10, there were about 840 confirmed twisters across the country. The U.S. is typically battered by more than 1,200 tornadoes each year.

The reason behind 2016's relatively uneventful tornado season is still unclear.

One meteorologist told USA Today: "We didn't see one of the big, classic tornado outbreaks. ... We got into a pattern in which we didn't get all the ingredients coming together."

Five years ago, tornadoes killed over 550 people nationwide.