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Top 5 Largest November Tornado Outbreaks

Chris Dolce and Jon Erdman
Published: November 23, 2013

According to our Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes, the second half of October, and especially November, can often be a second season for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

Forbes says, "In many ways, this is the counterpart to spring, when strong fronts and upper-air systems march across the United States. When enough warm, moist air accompanies these weather systems, the unstable conditions yield severe thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes."

Most of the time, the second-season tornado outbreaks are in the Gulf Coast states, but they can sometimes spread north to the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes.

Below we have a look at the top five worst November tornado outbreaks.

#5: Nov. 23-24, 2001 - 66 Tornadoes

  • States affected: Ark., La., Miss., Ala., Ky., Ga., Mo., Ind.
  • 34 tornadoes in Alabama alone.
  • Two F4 rated tornadoes in Mississippi.
  • 13 people were killed and 219 injured.
  • $53 million in damage.

#4: Nov. 17, 2013 - 72 Tornadoes

  • States affected: IL, IN, KY, OH, MI, MO, TN.
  • EF4 rated tornadoes in Washington, Ill. and near new Minden, Ill.
  • Six fatalities.

Getty Images

A factory is seen completely destroyed November 11, 2002 in Van Wert, Ohio. An F4 tornado destroyed about 12 homes and factories and damaged many others in this western Ohio farm community. Photo by Michael Williams/Getty Images

#3: Nov. 9-11, 2002 - 82 Tornadoes

  • States affected: 14 total from the Ohio Valley into parts of the South.
  • Strongest tornado hit Van Wert, Ohio (rated F4).
  • At least five tornadoes had path lengths of more than 40 miles.
  • 36 people were killed and 303 injured.

#2: Nov. 23-24, 2004 - 93 Tornadoes

  • States affected: Texas, La., Ark., Miss., Ala. and S.C.
  • Several tornadoes rated F3.
  • Three fatalities from tornadoes and one from damaging winds.

#1: Nov. 21-23, 1992 - 105 Tornadoes

  • States affected: 13 total from Houston, Texas to the Carolinas.
  • 26 killed and 638 injured.
  • $713 million in damage.
  • Rated the fourth worst tornado outbreak since 1950 by our Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes.

It started the Saturday before Thanksgiving 1992 in Houston. An incredible seven tornadoes were spawned in the span of just two hours in the metro area, with three twisters on the ground at one particular time in Harris County. The strongest tornado, rated F4, destroyed more than 200 homes on Houston's east side. This was the strongest tornado to hit the Houston metro since 1950.

Another F4 tornado went on a 128-mile long rampage through Mississippi overnight Saturday into Sunday morning, Nov. 22. The storm claimed 12 lives and damaged or destroyed more than 700 homes.

Fifteen total tornadoes touched down in Indiana that Sunday, the largest November outbreak in state records. One tornado was an F4 in southeast Indiana and northern Kentucky. Not to be left out, other F4 tornadoes carved a swath through the far northwest suburbs of Atlanta, and also struck near White Plains and Lake Oconee, Ga.

Finally, a pair of F3 tornadoes in North Carolina killed two and injured 59.

PHOTOS: Nov. 21 - 23, 1992 Tornado Outbreak

Associated Press

Boaters try to salvage what they can from a home blown into Lake Oconee by a tornado on Nov. 22, 1992. (Photo credit: John Bazemore/AP)


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