2018 will go down as an unusual year for tornadoes in the United States. For the first time in recorded history, there were no violent tornadoes in a calendar year. A violent tornado is classified as an EF4 or EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, and has winds of at least 166 mph. According to the National Weather Service, a violent tornado produces "devastating" to "catastrophic" damage. The death toll from tornadoes was well below normal as well. Only 10 fatalities occurred in 2018, which is much lower than the average value of 69 deaths per year.
Overall tornado numbers were down in 2018 compared to normal as well. Thru the first week of December, there were 1,154 reports of tornadoes in 2018. That number is slightly below average for any given year. The weather pattern during the spring and early summer simply wasn't ideal for severe weather and tornado outbreaks. The ingredients needed to fuel severe thunderstorms weren't present as often as normal. The result was less opportunities for tornadoes.
That lead to most states seeing below average years in the tornado department. Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas all saw less tornadoes than normal in 2018. Believe it or not, nearby states like Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania had an above normal year for tornadoes. In fact, Iowa tied for the most tornado reports in 2018 with 84; Illinois came in at 3rd with 64! Those numbers fall significantly when you look at Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
According to the National Weather Service, a total of 17 twisters touched down in Indiana in 2018. Only 14 were reported in Michigan. Both of those numbers are below normal when look at the 30-year average from 1985-2014. Ohio was also below normal for the year regarding total tornadoes. Throughout the entire year, only two tornadoes touched down in Michiana: one in rural Marshall County and one in Kosciusko County near Warsaw. We'll certainly take the relatively quiet year!