As you might expect, January is typically one of the least active months for tornadoes. However, as we've seen the last couple of years, you cannot let your guard down during the month.
Typical January tornado threat area.
Two years ago, an outbreak of tornadoes struck parts of the Mid-South and Southeast Jan. 22 to 23, killing two people. And last year, thunderstorms produced widespread damaging wind gusts and 61 tornadoes in parts of the South, Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic Jan. 29 to 30.
As the map to the right illustrates, parts of the South are the most at risk for tornadoes in January. This is due to the region's closer proximity to Gulf of Mexico moisture, which gets squashed southward during the winter. However, at times, this moisture can get pulled north by weather systems moving across the country in January, resulting in an increased chance of severe weather, including possible tornadoes.
For more information on tornadoes in January, watch our video above from severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes. Below are some January tornado facts.
January Tornado Facts:
- Average number of January tornadoes in the last 10 years: 39
- Most tornadoes ever recorded in January: 212 in 1999
- Largest January tornado outbreak: 129 from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 1999
- Deadliest January tornadoes: 55 killed in Warren, Ark. on Jan. 3, 1949 and 55 killed in Fort Smith, Ark. on Jan. 11, 1898.
MORE: Tornado Risk By Month
January Tornado Risk
30-year average number of tornadoes through 2011: 27