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New York's tornado history

Posted Wednesday, July 9th 2014 @ 7pm  by Bud Lowell

Governor Cuomo says the Madison County tornado is more evidence that New York is experiencing more severe weather, saying he's had 11 federal disaster declarations because of severe weather in 3 1/2 years as governor.

But as it turns out, tornadoes aren't that infrequent an event in New York State.

According to the Tornado History Project, 411 tornadoes have hit in New York State since the project started in 1952 -- about six-and-a-half twisters a year on average. Up until this week tornadoes had killed 26 New Yorkers since the 50s -- now 30. They've injured more than 350.

Are they getting more frequent? It might be more accurate to say we've been in a period of low tornado activity but are now moving back to average.

Looking back, in 1960, there were three tornadoes. In 1970, none. There were three in 1980, the same in 1990, and two in the year 2000.

But in 2010 there were eight tornadoes of EF-1 or greater confirmed in New York and there have been 18 in the four years since then -- now 19. That sounds like a lot of tornadoes, but it still works out to six-and-a-half tornadoes a year -- the same as the long-term average.

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