May snaps long-standing streak for strong tornadoes in US
By Zachary Rosenthal, AccuWeather staff writer
During the month of May, the United States saw 288 preliminary reports of tornadoes, above the May average of 276 tornadoes. None of these storms were rated as stronger than an EF2, marking the first time there has not been a tornado of EF3 strength or stronger in May since 1950, when record-keeping began.
There were also no deadly tornadoes in the U.S. in May, making this the first year without a killer tornado in May since 2014.
This May saw the eighth fewest tornado watches on record and just eight significant (EF2+) tornadoes.
“This year has been a quiet one for severe storms in general,” said AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor and Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell.
“So far, 2021 has seen the second-fewest issuances of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings since 1995, when radar data became routinely available. When it comes to tornado reports, 2021 is currently in the bottom 25th percentile, meaning this year has seen fewer tornado reports than 75% of the years since 1950,” Ferrell said.
The U.S. is experiencing a separate tornado-related drought — one that may delight those who fear some of nature’s most powerful storms. No EF5 tornadoes have been recorded in the U.S. for more than eight years, eclipsing the previous record, which was the period between the May 3, 1999, Moore F5 tornado and the May 4, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas EF5 tornado.