2017 Hurricane Season Produces Most Reported Tornadoes in Nearly a Decade

2017 is now the fourth hurricane season since 1995 with tropical storms or hurricanes that produced more than 100 tornadoes. Only the 2005 (317), 2004 (238) and 2008 (139) hurricane seasons produced more tornadoes.

Most of the tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones develop in bands of thunderstorms and intense showers outside the eyewall about 50 to 250 miles from the hurricane or tropical storm center.

The majority of tornadoes spawned by tropical storms and hurricanes are short-lived and of the weaker EF0 or EF1 variety, but some can reach EF2 or EF3 intensity. Because of their short-lived nature, sometimes they can strike with little or no advance warning.

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 is the most prolific tornado-producing hurricane in U.S. weather history. A total of 120 tornadoes struck nine states from Florida to Pennsylvania in a three-day period.

But not all hurricanes generate a large number of tornadoes, as 2016’s Hurricane Matthew illustrated. Matthew only produced two EF0-rated tornadoes since the eastern side of the hurricane, which is favored for tornado development, remained offshore.