WASHINGTON -- For the first time since record-keeping started in 1950 no one was killed by a tornado in April, May or June.
Normally those are the top months for tornadoes with an average of 52 fatalities, sometimes many more.
April was about average with 137 tornadoes. May was way below average with 134 tornadoes. There were 299 twisters in June.
The previous low mark for tornado deaths in April-June was one in 1992. There were 17 fatalities in that three-month period last year and 43 in 2003.
There have been five tornado deaths altogether this year, four in January and one in March.
For this year so far there have been 665 reports of tornadoes, close to normal but well below the record 964 tornadoes from January through June last year.
A study published last month in the journal Weather and Forecasting calculated that new radars installed by the National Weather Service in the 1990s are saving nearly 80 lives a year that would otherwise be lost to tornadoes.
The new equipment allowed forecasters to issue warnings for 60 percent of tornadoes, up from 35 percent before the instruments were installed, and the average lead time for warnings rose from 5.3 minutes to 9.5 minutes.
On the Net:
NOAA Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov
NOAA National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov
NOAA Tornadoes Page: http://www.noaa.gov/tornadoes.html