Severe weather took a relative break across the U.S. in November, settling in as among the quietest Novembers the nation has seen this century.
The 50 total storm reports were the second-fewest since the SPC began tracking the number of severe weather reports in 2000. Only 2009’s 14 severe weather reports ranked higher.
A dozen of those tornado reports came from one storm system on Nov. 20, which spawned twisters in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Only eight days out of 30 were given any level of severe weather risk by the Storm Prediction Center. The Level 3 risk forecast for Nov. 30 didn’t pan out, as the atmosphere never fully lived up to its stormy potential.
"If we look at the stats this year, we really have become quite lucky," FOX Weather Meteorologist Britta Merwin said. "It’s a month that can dish out some really scary stuff."
November a ‘very volatile month’ for severe weather
Indeed, November is not usually such a quiet month for severe weather.
"November is a very volatile month across the U.S.," Merwin said.
Look no further than last year, which had half the days in November with a severe weather risk day somewhere in the nation, with two dates rating a Level 4 on the SPC’s 5-point severe weather risk scale.
"It was rough," Merwin said. "We had a November last year that was extremely destructive with severe weather, including tornado outbreaks."
One of those dates was Nov. 29, 2022, which saw a tornado outbreak across the South. A mother and her 8-year-old son were killed in an EF-2 tornado near Jackson, Alabama. The SPC received 40 storm reports from that outbreak alone.
In 2021, there were 133 storm reports in November.
The Gulf Coast region, where temperatures and humidity typically remain higher than most of the U.S., can experience a secondary peak of tornadoes during the fall. Sometimes, fall twisters can even spread northward into parts of the Midwest.
Severe weather in the fall is often found where there’s a southward dip in the jet stream – called a trough – or a cold front moving through a region.
The map below shows that the tornado risk actually increases in November across the lower Mississippi Valley and into parts of the Southeast when compared to October.
Tornadoes are also still possible farther north into parts of the Midwest in November.
Overall severe weather reports ahead of average in 2023
While severe weather reports were down in November, for the entire year, the country is still trending above average.
There have been more than 17,000 damaging wind reports so far this year, well ahead of the average of just under 11,000.
The year is running ahead of the average in tornado reports, too, at 1,374 – about 200 more than an average year.
Surprisingly, Illinois leads all states with 136 tornado reports, with Alabama (94) and Texas (89) rounding out the top three.