The U.S. has been hit by 500 tornadoes in the past 30 days, according to the U.S. Storm Prediction Center. The spate of extreme storms, described as extraordinary by the center’s meteorologists, has left a trail of death and destruction across swathes of the United States — from New Mexico to New York.
Bill Bunting, the center’s chief of forecast operations, told Bloomberg on Wednesday that only four other 30-day periods in the official record — in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011 — saw an excess of 500 tornado reports.
“Whether or not we can say it was unprecedented, we will figure out later, but it certainly has been unusual,” Bunting said. “It is unusual to have this kind of streak going.”
Patrick Marsh, another meteorologist at the center, noted that the most recent 500-number is still a preliminary figure and represented the number of tornadoes that have been observed by eyewitnesses over the past 30 days. The record will take months to confirm, Bloomberg said.
Just how "active" have the last 30 days been for tornadoes? We're currently sitting at 500 filtered *eyewitness tornado reports* during this time period.Only four periods in the official database ever exceed 500 *observed* tornadoes in 30 days: 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2011. pic.twitter.com/rV2KTC3Gmz
— Patrick Marsh (@pmarshwx) May 28, 2019
Wednesday marked the 14th consecutive day in which tornado sirens sounded in several states.
There have been at least seven storm-related fatalities in the past week alone, according to The New York Times. Dozens of injuries and widespread property damage have also been reported as heavy rains, powerful winds and hail have battered towns and cities, threatening the lives and safety of tens of millions of Americans.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that at least 130 people had sustained injuries in Indiana and Ohio following powerful storms there.
Kathleen Wood Howe, a 62-year-old grandmother who’s lived in Ohio for more than 23 years, told Time that the storm that ravaged the town of Kettering, outside Dayton, on Monday was the worst she’d ever experienced.
“It was a horrible night,” she said.
Fortunately, meteorologists say a respite from the devastating storm streak may be around the corner.
Weather conditions are expected to improve Thursday and into the weekend, The Times reported. Flooding, however, remains a major risk in some states.
Scroll down to see some of the storms that have ravaged the country this past week ― and some of the damage they’ve caused.
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) May 30, 2019
— WLWT (@WLWT) May 28, 2019
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) May 30, 2019
— Jesse Carr (@jessedcarr) May 29, 2019
— Tom Rader (@TomRaderTV) May 29, 2019
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) May 29, 2019
— Meg Shaw (@MegDShaw) May 28, 2019
BREAKING: Video from @41actionnews helicopter in the Lawrence, Kansas, area shows catastrophic damage, with some homes and other structures obliterated, after large tornado moved through the area. https://t.co/ndIc5u3Now pic.twitter.com/Th8L2SF31R
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 29, 2019
— Vortex Crew (@VortexChasing) May 29, 2019
Major damage to many homes and at least one business from a tornado just north of Jay, OK. This dog was in shock but I checked and appeared to be ok. @weatherchannel #OKwx #tornado @NWStulsa pic.twitter.com/LczL64RgGY
— Charles Peek (@CharlesPeekWX) May 23, 2019
Tornado warned storm as it arrived in Doylestown Pa. tree and power line damage. Lots of emergency vehicles moving around afterwards. pic.twitter.com/ULxnpvPbda
— Mike Stanislaw (@mikestanislaw) May 29, 2019
Roads and cars were submerged in water as extreme flooding was reported along the Arkansas River in Fort Smith, Arkansas, leading to evacuations and water rescues. https://t.co/Nx3TgzLyCu pic.twitter.com/VZ2wuG3ry4
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2019
— Barry Brandt (@KATVBarry) May 30, 2019
— Tammy Ljungblad (@kctammy2009) May 29, 2019
Why we preach traveling during a Tornado Watch is dangerous. This is not a place you want to be caught in during a Tornado. From our KMBC Photog Caleb Smith in Linwood, KS. @kmbc @spann @Ginger_Zee @StormHour #mowx #kswx pic.twitter.com/xmRAlu0ugY