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Banner image showing a few highlights from the year

2021 was an odd year with most of the significant severe weather events very early and very late in the year. March had 2 separate "High Risk" events which was the first time since 1991. The heart of the severe weather season (April through June) was very quiet, particularly for tornadoes. April had the fewest tornado reports on record, May had no EF3+ tornadoes for the first time on record, and June had the 5th fewest significant tornadoes in recorded history. Severe weather picked up again in the fall and October had the 2nd most tornadoes on record. However, October would eventually be overshadowed by December. December had the most tornadoes and preliminary severe weather reports on record with both records nearly doubling the previous record, the 9th longest tornado path on record on December 10, the most preliminary significant thunderstorm wind gusts in a day and the first December Minnesota tornado on record on December 15. Prior to December, the tornado fatalities numbers were on pace to be well below normal in 2021, but after 87 people died in tornadoes on December 10, the 2021 tornado fatalities continued the trend of the past few years of increasing tornado deaths.

2017-2021 Tornado Fatalities

1991-2021 Tornado Fatalities

2017-2021 Tornado Fatalities
1991-2021 Tornado Fatalities

Map showing all the severe weather reports during 2021

2021 Report Summary

Total Reports:18,452
Most active severe month:July
Most active hail month: May
Most active tornado month:December
Additional monthly and yearly report statistics can be found here.

These filtered reports and fatalities are prelimilary data collected from NWS LSR's. Dec 10 fatalities only include tornado deaths from the SPC Killer Tornado Page as storm data is not yet available for a more comprehensive fatality count. Official storm data will be published in NCEI Storm Data.
2021 SPC Watches
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Watch Count
Total SPC Watches <
Tornado Watches
Severe Watches

Roller Coaster Year for
Tornado Watches

2021 total watches was near the normal for the decade (2010s). However, it was a roller coaster along the way.

Rank of Tornado Watch Totals By Month
Month Rank
January 13th fewest
February 19th fewest
March 13th most
April 4th fewest
May 8th fewest
June 3rd fewest
July near average
August 7th most
September near average
October 10th most
November T-1st least (0 with 5 other years)
December 8th most

Top 5 Largest Watches
RankDateSize (sq km)Watch #
Top 5 Watch Count Days
Highest Daily Outlook Probability (2021)
  # of Outlooks Largest Risk Area Jump to Day

General Statistics

  • 352 days (96%) had thunder probabilities.

  • 272 days (75%) had severe weather probabilities.

  • 61 days (17%) had a maximum category of Enhanced or greater.

Most Fall (OND) Moderate Risks issued since 2006.

There were 4 Moderate risks issued between October 1 and December 31 which is the most since 2006.
Calendar of October, November, and December showing there were 4 moderate risk days

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Highest Daily Fire Outlook Probability(2021)
  # of Outlooks Largest Risk Area Jump to Day

General Statistics

  • 280 days (77%) had fire weather probabilities in 2021.

  • 108 days (30%) had a maximum category of critical/scattered or greater.

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Page comments and concerns can be relayed to Evan Bentley and Matt Mosier