While tornadoes are less frequent here, they have been proven to be far more deadly than tornadoes that occur on the Great Plains. One reason could be due to the fact that tornadoes are generally long tracked and go through highly populated areas with the southern states having higher populations than those upon the Great Plains. Tornadoes here can also be harder to spot due to being rain wrapped or obscured by forests or hills—and when people don’t see a tornado despite a tornado warning having been issued, people do not react.
This is nothing new in Alabama. In November of 1874, at least three tornadoes were reported within the state. This outbreak was the result of a weather bomb that affected the Midwest. The New York Times reported that in Tucumbia, the day of the tornado was hot like a day in July before an F4 tornado impacted the town. At least fourteen were killed from this tornado. Another tornado in Campbell County reportedly threw a wooden screw weighing several tons into the air.
The 1974 Super Outbreak has faded slightly from memory, but it was the first outbreak to produce over a 100 tornadoes. The first tornado of the outbreak touched down in Lawrence County Alabama and was on the ground for ninety minutes till dissipating in Madison County, having taken twenty-eight lives. This tornado was one of three F5s that impacted the state of Alabama during the outbreak.
In 2022, ninety-eight tornadoes touched down in Alabama, only forty-seven tornadoes behind 2011. As of writing this in 2023, fourteen tornadoes have touched down in the state with the annual average being sixty. However, across the United States, the 2023 tornado season is already off to a start of more tornadoes than average per month, and only time will tell how frequent tornadoes will occur in Alabama this year.