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10 Worst U.S. Tornado Outbreaks

Dr. Greg Forbes
Published: April 5, 2013

Comparing the Worst Outbreaks

There are many ways to compare tornado outbreaks. You can simply look at raw tornado or fatality counts for a quick look. But how do you truly dig down to answer the question, "Which are the worst U.S. tornado outbreaks?"

TWC Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes (Facebook | Twitter) examined 11 parameters to rank the severity of U.S. tornado outbreaks from 1950 through November 2012. 

These parameters include not only deaths and tornado counts, but also number of violent tornadoes, killer tornadoes, damage amounts, total tornado path length, number of wide-track tornadoes, number of states affected, number of tornadoes per hour and number of injuries.

These values were combined into a "Forbes Impact Index", with a maximum value of 100.

To be clear, we are considering tornado outbreaks, not necessarily one singular, destructive tornado, such as, for example, Greensburg, Kan. (May 2007).

Let's kickoff our top 10 worst outbreak list with a pair of classic outbreaks in the Southern Plains.


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