May 5, 2024

The U.S. just saw its second-most tornadic April on record

At least 300 confirmed tornadoes touched down across the United States last month, making it the second-most tornadic April on record across the country.

Repeated bouts of severe thunderstorms rolling across the central Plains fuelled this past month's frenzy of tornadoes. The bulk of April's twisters touched down at the end of the month as day after day of severe thunderstorms erupted amid a favorable pattern parked over the region.

Surveys conducted by the National Weather Service confirmed at least 300 tornadoes across 20 states throughout the month of April. This preliminary count all but secures the month's status as the second-most tornadic April on record, beaten only by the historic outbreaks of April 2011.

Last month's worst-rated tornado was an EF-4 that struck Marietta, Oklahoma, on April 27, one of more than two-dozen tornadoes to hit the state that day.

Many of the tornadoes were widely photographed, including several that struck eastern Nebraska one day earlier on April 26.

A highway traffic camera snagged an instantly memorable capture of one of those twisters as it crossed the interstate between Lincoln and Omaha.

April's remarkable pace of tornadic storms was an abrupt return of severe weather to traditional Tornado Alley. Many of the high-impact tornado outbreaks we've seen in recent years largely spared the Plains by unfolding across the southeastern states instead.

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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I contribute to The Weather Network as a digital writer, and I've written for Forbes, the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang, Popular Science, Mental Floss, and Gawker's The Vane. My latest book, The Skies Above, is now available. My first book, The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, arrived in October 2015.