Advocates for action on climate change suffered a setback last week, when NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory released data that shows 2018 set a record for the fewest violent tornadoes and deaths since records have been kept.
In 2018, there were only 10 deaths from tornadoes, the fewest since unofficial records began in 1875. The previous low was 12 in 1910.
For the first time since 1950, when official records began, there were no “violent” tornadoes during the year according to the laboratory. Violent tornadoes are classified as those with estimated wind speeds of 166 mph or higher — EF4 or EF5 twisters on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity.
“The causes for 2018’s lack of violent tornadoes are many, but one key factor is high pressure tending to be more dominant than normal throughout peak season this past spring,” Capital Weather Gang forecaster Ian Livingston told USA Today. High atmospheric pressure typically brings clear skies and fewer clouds and storms.