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April 2018 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

Altus Oklahoma Tornado
A photograph taken during the Altus, Oklahoma, tornado. Photo courtesy of NOAA.

With parts of the United States still reeling from winter storms in March, we look ahead to April. Though overall tornadic activity typically peaks in May and June, April is an active month for violent tornadoes.

Violent tornadoes

There were more violent tornadoes—EF4 and EF5—in April than any other month from 1950 through 2013. And just last year, 211 tornado reports were recorded for April, up from 120 reports in 2016.

The past decade saw an average of 226 U.S. tornadoes in April, and the April 2011 tornado outbreak is ranked as the most active tornado month on record. That month, there were 758 confirmed tornadoes (exceeding the prior record of 267 in April 1974), with an estimated 364 fatalities.

Hail accompanies tornadic activity

Hail tends to accompany tornadic activity, and this peril has been included in more than 91 percent of all PCS® events designated in April since 2008. In April last year, PCS designated seven catastrophes, which together generated more than 373,000 claims and over $2.5 billion in losses.

Since 2008, PCS has designated 47 total April catastrophes from all perils. Those events resulted in close to $38.2 billion in losses in that ten-year period, averaging $3.82 billion per April.

To get access to vital PCS information on the go, download the new PCS-Mobile app for iPhone  or Android

Ted Gregory

Ted Gregory is director of operations for PCS at Verisk. You can contact Ted at

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