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May 2005 ended without a single tornado reported in Oklahoma – a first for the month of May and any month since official records began in 1950, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

Prior to last month, the lowest number of reported tornadoes in May was two in 1988.

Until this year, May was the only month of the year that had at least one tornado. All other months have gone without a single tornado in past years.

May typically marks the peak of Oklahoma’s tornado season. During the period from 1950 to 2004, an average of 21 May tornadoes were reported. May typically brings about 38 percent of Oklahoma’s annual tornado average of 54.

The most tornadoes on record for May in Oklahoma is 90 set in 1999.

“A very cold upper-level low pressure system over the Great Lakes and Northeast provided unseasonable cool weather from the northern Plains to the mid-Atlantic states and prevented sufficient middle-level moisture to move northward from the Gulf of Mexico. No southerly low-level flow, no moisture, no tornadoes,” said Dan McCarthy, warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

Preliminary data show that so far this year there have been 15 tornadoes in Oklahoma, which is below the average of 36 tornadoes between January and May.

For the continental Unites States, last month had a preliminary tornado count of 129 – the thirteenth lowest on record.

With a decrease in tornadoes, comes a decrease in tornado-related fatalities. Through May, there have been five tornado deaths in the United States – four occurred in January and one in March.

Despite the relative clam, McCarthy warns “The peak of tornado season is not over with yet and the weather pattern can rapidly change in favor of tornado development.”

Media contact:

Keli Tarp, NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center: (405)366-0451

Related Web sites:

NOAA’s National Weather Service:
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center:
Storm Prediction Center Storm Reports:

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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM