13 straight days of tornadoes shatter US twister record

If it feels like it's been a long month of severe weather, particularly in the middle of the country where tornado outbreaks have become a daily occurrence, it's because the country, particularly the heartland, has been caught in an unprecedented stretch of tornadic activity lately.

On Monday night, a large tornado struck Dayton, Ohio, causing significant damage to local communities, and several other powerful twisters were reported in Ohio and Indiana. The next night, a destructive tornado ripped through Linwood, Kansas. These are just a few of the massive tornadoes that have touched down recently in the country.

Tuesday will likely set the record for the most consecutive days with reports of at least eight tornadoes, or "tornado days." Tuesday was day 12, eclipsing the old record of 11 that ended on June 7, 1980.

RELATED: Tornadoes strike U.S. swath leaving destruction in their wake

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Tornadoes strike U.S. swath leaving destruction in their wake
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Tornadoes strike U.S. swath leaving destruction in their wake
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Workers work on a damaged home, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, as cleaning efforts begin in a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area on Monday. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents cleans up in a tornado damaged neighborhood, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest earlier in the week. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Local volunteers on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton Ohio, help organize relief support for victims of a tornado storm system Wednesday Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest earlier this week. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A youngster walks on the trunk of a fallen tree Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, as cleaning efforts begin in a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area on Monday. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Local volunteers on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton Ohio, help organize relief support for victims of a tornado storm system Wednesday Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest earlier this week. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A residents cleans up in a tornado damaged neighborhood, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest earlier in the week. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A man removes tree branches, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, as cleaning efforts begin in a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area on Monday. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Linemen work on damaged power poles, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Local volunteers help organize relief support for victims of a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and damaging public utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Local volunteers help organize relief support for victims of a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and damaging public utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. Hospitals in the state reported that nearly 140 people were injured in the storms late Monday night, although only one person was killed as the destructive storms sent people cowering in basements, closets and bathrooms. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Downed tree limbs remain on cars outside a business Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Morgantown, Pa. The National Weather Service says a tornado has been confirmed Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, where damage to some homes and businesses occurred, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
Downed tree limbs remain on cars outside a business Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Morgantown, Pa. The National Weather Service says a tornado has been confirmed Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, where damage to some homes and businesses occurred, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
Downed tree limbs remain outside a business Wednesday May 29, 2019, in Morgantown, Pa. The National Weather Service says a tornado has been confirmed Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, where damage to some homes and businesses occurred, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
Mitchell Gaines, left, and Lily Chapman, both of the National Weather Service, document damage near a horse farm in Newton Township, Pa., before declaring a EF-1 tornado touched down in its vicinity Wednesday, May 29, 2019. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)
Residents clean up in a tornado damaged neighborhood, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest earlier in the week. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Repair and cleaning efforts begin on a neighborhood damaged by a tornado storm system that passed through the area, destroying homes and cutting off access to utilities, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Tens of thousands of Ohio residents were still without power or water Wednesday in the aftermath of strong tornadoes that spun through the Midwest. Hospitals in the state reported that nearly 140 people were injured in the storms late Monday night, although only one person was killed as the destructive storms sent people cowering in basements, closets and bathrooms. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A weather-damaged business is seen Wednesday May 29, 2019 in Morgantown, Pa. The National Weather Service says a tornado has been confirmed Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, where damage to some homes and businesses occurred, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
A destroyed home sits in a neighborhood after it was hit by a tornado on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, south of Lawrence, Kan., near US-59 highway and N. 1000 Road. The past couple of weeks have seen unusually high tornado activity in the U.S., with no immediate end to the pattern in sight. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
People watch from the Liberty Memorial as a severe storm that dropped several tornados earlier approaches downtown Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
In this aerial image, debris from damaged homes litters the properties on Fairground Road after a tornado storm system passed through the area the previous night, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Celina, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Erica Bohannon leads reporters through her destroyed apartment, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Trotwood, Ohio, after a tornado storm system passed through the area the night before, tearing her roof off while she huddled with her son and dog in her bedroom closet. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Building debris is strewn on downed tree limbs outside a business Wednesday May 29, 2019 in Morgantown, Pa. The National Weather Service says a tornado has been confirmed Tuesday in eastern Pennsylvania, where damage to some homes and businesses occurred, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
Storm damaged homes remain after a tornado passed through the area the previous evening, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents and volunteers clean debris from damaged homes litters the properties on Fairground Road in Celina, Ohio, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, after a tornado storm system passed through the area the previous night. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Joe Armison looks over damage to his home after a tornado struck the outskirts of Eudora, Kan., Tuesday, May 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Residents and volunteers clean debris from damaged homes that litters the properties on Fairground Road after a tornado storm system passed through the area the previous night, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Celina, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A roof from a damaged home rests in a field at a distance from Fairground Road after a tornado storm system passed through the area the previous night, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Celina, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents and visitors walk past debris at the River's Edge apartment complex, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Shaun Vaine walks through his destroyed home at the River's Edge apartment complex, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians pass along storm debris on North Dixie Drive, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians pass along storm debris on North Dixie Drive, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service, though authorities working through the night had reported no fatalities as of early Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians pass along storm debris including down power lines and poles along North Dixie Drive, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents and visitors walk past debris, including trees that were snapped in half, at the River's Edge apartment complex Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Shaun Vaine, left, and Michele Thrash, right, stand in their destroyed home at the River's Edge apartment complex, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Debris is strewn about the front sidewalks of destroyed homes at the River's Edge apartment complex, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Pedestrians pass along storm debris on North Dixie Drive, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A worker removes a tree from the roof of a house, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Pendleton, Ind., following a tornado the struck the night before. The severe storm damaged at least 75 homes in Pendleton. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Matt Roberts removes debris from around his house, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Pendleton, Ind., following a tornado the struck the night before. The severe storm damaged at least 75 homes in Pendleton. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Workers from Greenfield Power and Light work to restore power, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Pendleton, Ind., following a tornado the struck the night before. The severe storm damaged at least 75 homes in Pendleton. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Erica Bohannon, leads reporters through her destroyed apartment after a tornado storm system passed through the area the night before, tearing her roof off while she huddled with her son and dog in her bedroom closet, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Trotwood, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Erica Bohannon, leads reporters through her destroyed apartment, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Trotwood, Ohio, after a tornado storm system passed through the area the night before, tearing her roof off while she huddled with her son and dog in her bedroom closet. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents and volunteers help clear debris from damaged homes resulting from a tornado storm system that passed through the region the previous evening, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage liters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damaged homes remain after a tornado passed through the area the previous evening, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Homes stand damaged after a tornado passed through the area the previous evening, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage litters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Erica Bohannon, leads reporters through her destroyed apartment, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Trotwood, Ohio, after a tornado storm system passed through the area the night before, tearing her roof off while she huddled with her son and dog in her bedroom closet. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage litters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage liters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage litters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage litters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Storm damage litters a residential neighborhood, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Vandalia, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A family ducks under power lines as they make their way out of a tornado damaged neighborhood after being hit on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, south of Lawrence, Kan., near US-59 highway and N. 1000 Road. The past couple of weeks have seen unusually high tornado activity in the U.S., with no immediate end to the pattern in sight.(Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
Vecinos caminando hacia su edificio de apartamentos Westbrooke Village, que resultó dañado por un tornado, el martes 28 de mayo de 2019 en Dayton, Ohio. (Doral Chenoweth III/Columbus Dispatch via AP)
A family tries to gather their belongings after a tornado destroyed their home on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in a neighborhood south of Lawrence, Kan., near US-59 highway and N. 1000 Road. The past couple of weeks have seen unusually high tornado activity in the U.S., with no immediate end to the pattern in sight. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
The sky begins to clear over a destroyed home after a tornado touched down in a neighborhood south of Lawrence, Kan., near US-59 highway and N. 1000 Road on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. The past couple of weeks have seen unusually high tornado activity in the U.S., with no immediate end to the pattern in sight. (Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP)
Pedestrians pass along storm debris on North Dixie Drive, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents walk toward their Westbrooke Village Apartment building that was heavily damaged by a tornado Tuesday morning, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. The Ohio Department of Transportation is using snow plows to remove debris off an Ohio highway after a "large and dangerous" tornado hit the area late Monday. (Doral Chenoweth III/Columbus Dispatch via AP)
Debris litters the ground surrounding damaged homes from a tornado storm system that passed through the region the previous evening, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Brookville, Ohio. A rapid-fire line of apparent tornadoes tore across Indiana and Ohio overnight, packed so closely together that one crossed the path carved by another. At least half a dozen communities from eastern Indiana through central Ohio suffered damage, according to the National Weather Service, though authorities working through the night had reported no fatalities as of early Tuesday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Residents and visitors walk past debris at the River's Edge apartment complex, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio, the day after a tornado struck the city. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Erica Bohannon leads reporters through her destroyed apartment after a tornado storm system passed through the area the night before, tearing her roof off while she huddled with her son and dog in her bedroom closet, Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Trotwood, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
An historic railroad building owned by Farmers Feed Store was destroyed by a suspected tornado which hit Sapulpa, Okla., early Sunday, May 26, 2019. Farmers Feed Store uses the building, which has been there since at least the early 1900s, for storage. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)
Police stand at the ruins of a hotel in El Reno, Okla., Sunday, May 26, 2019, following a likely tornado touchdown late Saturday night. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Tavaris McClain, left, and Tyree Thompson clear debris to free McClain's mother's car outside her destroyed home Thursday, May 23, 2019 after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
FILE - In this May 24, 2011 file photo, a destroyed neighborhood is seen in Joplin, Mo. Eight years to the day after a devastating tornado killed 161 people in Joplin, another big twister ripped through another Missouri community, Jefferson City, but with a far different result: No deaths, no serious injuries. The two storms share a May 22 date, the same state, and both happened in towns of similar size. Both tornadoes ravaged residential areas and business districts. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
A pickup truck evacuates from an area in north Jefferson City Missouri as floodwaters from the Missouri River rise over the road on Friday, May 24, 2019. The flooding come as residents are still cleaning up from a powerful tornado that hit the state's capital city on May 22. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
This aerial image shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado hit overnight. A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
People walk up Dunklin Street on Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Jefferson City, Mo. The early analysis of storm damage has led the National Weather Service to believe the town was struck by an EF3. (Liv Paggiarino/Missourian via AP)
A car is trapped under the fallen metal roof of the Break Time gas station and convenience store in tornado-hit Jefferson City, MO., Thursday, May 23, 2019. The National Weather Service has confirmed a large and destructive tornado has touched down in Missouri's state capital, causing heavy damage and trapping multiple people in the wreckage of their homes. (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
The sign for the Hidden Oaks apartment complex in Jefferson City Missouri stands bent on May 23, 2019, from an apparent tornado in front of a tree that was ripped apart. A "violent tornado" touched down in Jefferson City, Missouri, causing possible fatalities, according to the National Weather Service (AP Photo/David A. Lieb)
FILE - This May 23, 2019 file photo shows severe storm damage in Jefferson City, Mo., after a tornado hit overnight. Eight years to the day after a devastating tornado killed 161 people in Joplin, another big twister ripped through another Missouri community, Jefferson City, but with a far different result: No deaths, no serious injuries. The two storms share a May 22 date, the same state, and both happened in towns of similar size. Both tornadoes ravaged residential areas and business districts. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Jessica Rodgers and a neighbor Ray Arellana carry a stroller carrying Rodgers' sister Sophia Rodgers over downed power lines as they head to Rodgers' mother's apartment to check on damage Thursday, May 23, 2019, after a tornado tore though Jefferson City, Mo. late Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Un auto queda atrapado bajo los restos de un techo de una gasolinera en Jefferson City, Missouri, tras el paso de un tornado, el jueves 23 de mayo de 2019. (Foto AP/David A. Lieb)
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As of Thursday, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center (NWS SPC) logged 23 preliminary tornado reports on Tuesday. While these reports do not represent confirmed tornadoes, they do suggest that the record for consecutive days on which at least eight tornadoes touched down would be broken once the official totals are in.

That number will likely extended to 13 days as 24 preliminary tornadoes were reported during Wednesday's severe weather event.

"Based on where and when these preliminary tornadoes were reported, there were likely eight different tornadoes that touched down on Wednesday, adding another day to the record," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

“The official record uses observed, confirmed tornadoes, and we are still dealing with preliminary tornado counts for the current stretch,” Dr. Patrick Marsh, a warning coordination meteorologist at the SPC, said in an email to AccuWeather.

Marsh told The New York Times that "we are flirting in uncharted territory. Typically, you’d see a break of a day or two in between these long stretches, but we’re just not getting that right now.”

Marsh told AccuWeather he chose eight tornadoes per day because that is the minimum number of tornado local storm reports (LSRs) issued on any given day during this stretch. If the benchmark were set to 10 tornadoes, the 1980 streak would hold.

“If you want to use number of consecutive days with any confirmed tornado, that is 70 straight days, with July 1, 1991, being the last day in that stretch with a tornado,” Marsh said.

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Tornado reports have exploded this year after a couple years of low activity. The SPC has reported 935 tornadoes (preliminary) so far this year.

May 2019 is on track to have the most tornado reports of any recorded May, which is typically the most active month in terms of tornado activity.

Before Tuesday, there were 442 tornado reports during May. The official tally has not been confirmed, but there were 50 additional filtered reports on Tuesday and Wednesday, so that would bring the total to 493 for the month, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

“Looking at the data, before this month, May 2015 had the most tornado reports in any May with 414,” Pydynowski said. However, the current number of 493 is preliminary and it could be a little less after the season when the SPC will sort through the data for an actual total.

“Regardless, this May will be one of the top two most active tornado Mays (most likely No. 1) on record,” Pydynowski said.

The NWS reports that 38 people have died in 10 tornadoes in the United States this year, up from 10 fatalities in 2018. Seven of those deaths from this year's tornadoes have occurred in May. The majority of confirmed tornadoes this May are less intense, rated as EF0, EF1 and EF2s on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, but there have been a couple of very powerful twisters.

One of the strongest confirmed tornadoes this year was an EF4 tornado that killed 23 people in Lee County, Alabama, in early March. On Wednesday afternoon, the NWS officially rated the tornado that obliterated Linwood, Kansas, an EF4 storm with top wind speeds of 170 mph. No fatalities were reported in Linwood.

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Pydynowski added that there may be an increase in the number of tornado reports in recent years due to more people being out in the field and reporting tornadoes. There is a theory discussed among meteorologists that social media use may also play a role in this upward trend in tornado reports.

However, Marsh said that he does not feel comfortable “saying much about any trend owing to social media.”

According to Marsh, the nation just finished a stretch of well below normal tornado activity and had a corresponding decrease in the number of tornado LSRs. Thus, showing that LSRs are a relatively accurate indication of tornado activity, despite the potential inflation in the number of tornado reports due to more frequent observation and reporting.

About a decade ago, some preliminary work found that to approximate the number of observed tornadoes based on LSRs, one should multiply the LSR count by 0.85, Marsh said.

The recent uptick in tornado activity may be linked to a very volatile weather pattern across the U.S., with a large dip in the jet streambringing unusually cool weather in the Southwest.

“At the same time, high pressure strengthened and was responsible for the record heat in the South,” Pydynowski said. “Storms riding the jet stream kept emerging from the Southwest and onto the Plains, clashing with warm and humid air and sparking the onslaught of the severe weather.”

Is there an end to this turbulent weather pattern in sight? The central U.S. may soon have a break from this severe weather, as Wednesday will be the last day of widespread severe weather across the Plains, Pydynowski said. Much-needed dry weather will span areas from Nebraska to Oklahoma Thursday and Friday.

Thursday will mark the end of a three-day stretch of severe weather across the mid-Atlantic states.

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