In what had been described as an “unusually quiet severe weather season” by Risk Management Solutions Inc., there were 103 reported tornado sightings in Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee on Sunday, November 17.
The two confirmed tornados that hit Washington City, Ill., with a population of 15,000, and Minden, Ill., with a population of 200, were confirmed as EF-4s, meaning that wind speeds were between 166 and 200 mph, RMS said. According to NOAA’s National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, the tornados resulted in at least six reported deaths.
“Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones as a result of Sunday’s catastrophic tornado outbreak,” said Christopher Hackett, director of personal lines policy for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. “This powerful storm system spawned strong winds, thunderstorms and tornadoes that produced severe damage to many communities. Thousands of insurance adjusters are in the field now, working to help victims of this storm put their lives back together. Once you have filed your claim, there are a number of things you can do such as photographing the damage and making an inventory of what was lost and damaged to help expedite the process of recovery.”
According to an RMS analysis of data compiled by Tornado History Project, these tornadoes occurred unusually late in the season, as there have been only two EF-4 tornadoes to occur in the United States during November since 1950; they also were unusual in that they occurred to far north; the Washington, Illinois tornado was the third most northerly EF-4 ever to occur in November, RMS said.
RMS said the actual number of tornados on November 17 likely would be between 30 and 40, adding that the number of reported sightings does not relate directly to the actual number of confirmed tornadoes, as a tornado may be reported at multiple points along it track.
The preliminary tornado count year-to-date, but prior to Sunday, was 818, RMS said, the lowest year-to-date total since 1988. In May, however, nearly 40 tornadoes struck Oklahoma, including two EF-4 tornadoes, which struck the towns of Moore, near Oklahoma City, and Shawnee.
So far this year, the National Weather Service (NWS) has confirmed 32 tornadoes as a result of damage assessments, including two Enhanced Fujita 4s (EF-4s), three EF-3s, ten EF-2s, eleven EF-1s, five EF-0s and one of undetermined strength, RMS said.
Wind and hail events also hit Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin, with 31 of 43 reported incidents in Illinois, alone. Near Bloomington, Ill., hail of 3.75 inches in diameter was measured. There also have been 580 reports of damage due to strong winds between Missouri and New York, RMS said, and hurricane-strength wind gusts, in excess of 74 mph, were recorded at 16 locations.
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