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December 21, 2011

The Historic Tornadoes of April 2011

National Weather Service calls 2011 the second deadliest year on record for tornadoes

An assessment from the April 27 tornado outbreak was recently completed and is now available to the public. The assessment team traveled to the impacted areas to interview weather service staff, emergency managers, the media, other government agency personnel and the public.

During a 4-day period from April 25-28, 2011, more than 200 tornadoes occurred in five southeastern states. The deadliest part of the outbreak was the afternoon and evening of April 27, when a total of 122 tornadoes resulted in 313 deaths across central and northern Mississippi, central and northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia, and northern Georgia. Three additional lives were claimed by tornadoes in the pre-dawn hours of April 27 bringing the daily total to 316.

There were 15 violent (Enhanced Fujita Scale 4 or 5) tornadoes reported. Eight of the tornadoes had paths lengths in excess of 50 miles. Two of the tornadoes – one in northern Alabama and another that struck the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham areas in Alabama – each claimed more than 60 lives.

In addition to the death toll, more than 2,400 people were injured and the area experienced more than $4.2 billion in property loss.