Tornado count on the rise

Wednesday, May 28th 2008, 9:52 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

The National Weather Service continues to analyze damage produced by the many tornados that touched down on Saturday.

"We may never know exactly how many truly happened," said Rick Smith with the NWS.

Smith said there's no magic formula to explain the elevated number of tornadoes this year.

Usually by the end of May, Oklahoma has an average of 40 twisters, but the Sooner State has already seen 45 tornadoes.

"That number is going to climb just a little but as we continue to analyze what happened last Saturday.

Greg Carbin of the NOAA storm prediction center pointed to the February Super Tuesday tornado outbreak in the South that pushed the numbers ahead early in the season.

That even alone resulted in 56 fatalities," Carbin said. "If you remove that one event from year to date, we would be about normal."

There are still several more weeks left in tornado season, and tornado-producing storms could still develop.

"You can't rule out the potential for a violent tornado," Carbin said. "The atmosphere can put together these things, we know that."

Fortunately, this year, 80 percent of the tornadoes in Oklahoma have been ruled EF0 or EF1.