NORTH CAROLINA (April 26, 2014) — An EF-3 or stronger tornado that caused at least 15 injuries in Beaufort County, North Carolina on Friday was the first major tornado in the United States this year.
It set a record for the latest first major tornado in a calendar year since National Weather Service record keeping began in 1950, according to scientists in the Severe Weather Institutes — Radar and Lightning Laboratories at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Major tornadoes are considered EF-3, EF-4, and EF-5 on the enhanced Fujita scale.
The previous record was set in 2002, when there were no EF-3 or stronger tornadoes in the U.S. until March 31.
There still has not been a tornado-related fatality in the continental U.S. this year. The previous record was the 111th day of 2004, April 20 in Utica, Illinois.
Scientists declined to attribute the weaker-than-usual tornado season to a specific cause, although they speculate that cool temperatures over much of the U.S. so far this spring might have contributed to the decline in powerful storms.
The attached photo was damage from one of the North Carolina tornadoes and is courtesy of @stormchaser4850.
We have the possibility of more severe storms on Sunday across the Lower Mississippi Valley. In fact, a moderate risk of severe weather is in place especially across Arkansas. Click here for more.
Get our complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.