April Tornadoes in Missouri (1950-2011)

I promised an April tornado summary for Missouri a couple of days ago when I published the Kansas review, well here it is! Come absorb all of the data…

According to the NCDC (National Climate Data Center) Missouri has averaged 8 tornadoes during the month of April over the past 20 years; if you go back over the past 62 years (1950-2011) you will find that Missouri averages 6.3 tornadoes per year.  Similar to the reason I gave for Kansas is that the further you go back the less likely you were to miss a tornado as it struck in open land and no one witnessed the storm.  Comparatively, there is hardly a tornado that goes missed across the Central Plains and most of the U.S. for that matter in this day and age.  April is the second most active month for tornadoes over the past 20 years, only falling behind May which averages 12 tornadoes.  The 8 tornadoes over the course of April is also good enough to tie for sixth (with Iowa) for most active state.  The graph below shows the number of tornadoes per year during the month of April in Missouri:


You can see that 1994 was the most active April on record with 26 tornadoes, 1973 wasn’t too far behind with 23. Several other years featured a dozen or more tornadoes while there were 10 years where Missouri tallied zero tornadoes during the month.  Digging into the numbers a bit we can say that there is a 16% chance of seeing no tornadoes while there is a an equal 16% chance of seeing more than a dozen tornadoes.  When are tornadoes most likely to occur during the day in April for Missouri?  Well the evening is obviously the ideal time with 56.4% of April tornadoes occurring between 3-7pm (CST).  However, taking a look at the graph below you will see that a tornado has occurred at every hour within Missouri during the month of April!



Over the past 62 years there have been 485 injuries and 19 fatalities caused by tornadoes during the month of April in Missouri.  One of the more damaging tornadoes came on April 2, 2006 when a tornado struck Caruthersville and injuries 130 along with killing 2 while destroying much of the town.  The deadliest tornadoes in April history within Missouri borders occurred on April 24, 1975 when an (E)F4 struck Neosho, the tornado also injured 22 others.  In total there have been 15 deadly tornadoes, with 66 tornadoes causing injury.  Details on three of the tornadoes are below:


Date Location Fatalities Injured EF-Scale Width Length
April 24, 1975 Neosho 3 22 4 500 yds 11.9 mi.
April 2, 1982 West Plains 3 28 4 500 yds 20 mi.
April 2, 2006 Caruthersville 2 130 3 880 yds 77 mi.


There has never been an (E)F5 tornado in Missouri during the month of April, however there has been 14 (E)F4 tornadoes with an increasing amount of weaker tornadoes.  While most tornadoes are rated (E)F0 Missouri actually has had more (E)F1 tornadoes during the month of April than (E)F0.  A complete graph with all of the ratings is below:


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