What Country Has the Most Tornadoes in the World?

What Country Has the Most Tornadoes in the World? 1

Tornado in Colorado, USA.
The United States has more tornadoes each year than any other country in the world.

Tornadoes rank as some of the most destructive natural forces on earth. The vortex funnel, with winds in excess of 100 mph, accounts for massive property damage and extreme loss of life.

Fortunately, tornadoes are infrequent storms. Unless you’re a storm chaser, you should have enough warning to avoid tornadoes. However, some parts of the world have more tornadoes than others. 

With the right weather conditions and geographical influences, tornadoes become more commonplace, but where can you frequently expect tornadoes? Read on to find out.

1. United States

With over 1,200 tornadoes annually, the US has by far the most tornadoes in the world. While tornadoes develop almost anytime and anywhere year-round, they most commonly occur in the Midwest and Southeast (using the TORCON Index), especially in the late Spring and early Summer. 

However, the strongest and deadliest tornadoes are most likely to occur in the Southern Plains. If you live in any of these tornado-prone areas, it would be wise to learn about the warning signs of a tornado

The deadliest tornado in US history was the Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925, which killed 695 people in Missouri (11), Illinois (613), and Indiana (71).

2. Canada

While Canada is larger than the United States in terms of land mass, it only gets a tenth of the number of tornadoes that the US does. Despite the big difference, this figure is good enough for second overall. 

Most of Canada’s tornadoes happen in three of its provinces—Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario, but the strongest tornado in the country’s history, an F5, occurred in Elie, Manitoba on June 22nd, 2007.

3. England

The third country on our list might surprise you, but England actually has more tornadoes per square mile than any other country in the world. An average of 34 tornadoes strike the country per year, which works out at 2.2 tornadoes per 10,000km sq. You’ll typically find most of England’s twisters in the Thames Valley, close to the cities of Reading and London.

4. New Zealand

New Zealand is another small country with a large number of tornadoes given its size, with an average of about 20 twisters per year. However, the majority of its twisters occur on the country’s North Island. 

In fact, Auckland—a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island—has been hit by deadly tornadoes, including one in Albany in 2011 that killed one person and injured 16 others, and another in Hobsonville in 2012 which killed three people.

5. Japan

Yet another island nation with a significant number of tornadoes given its size is Japan. As with New Zealand, the country averages about 20 tornadoes annually. But what is different about Japan from the other places is that it's fairly new to the list. 

Whether by natural cycle or changes in the Earth’s climate, the number of tornadoes—known as tatsumaki here—are increasing in number.

6. Australia

While many think of just the Outback when Australia comes to mind, portions of its coasts are actually quite temperate, and stormy too. Many of the country’s 16 or so tornadoes that occur every year happen in the southwestern portion of the country, and a few of its tornadoes begin as waterspouts, which are common.

7. India

India’s monsoon season can sometimes produce tornadic activity, especially in the eastern part of the country. Its strongest tornado occurred in April 1963 in Assam, killing more than 100. While the Assam tornado was quite devastating, many of the stronger tornadoes occur in Bangladesh, the country to the east.

8. Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s generally flat topography and climate make it ripe for tornadic activity. Making matters worse, the commonly poor construction of homes in a significant portion of the country make tornadoes all the more dangerous. 

In 1964, a tornado in the Khulna Division killed 500, and on April 26, 1989, the Daulatpur–Saturia, Bangladesh tornado, which occurred in the Manikganj District, killed more than 1,300 and injured 12,000, making it the single deadliest tornado in the world.

9. South Africa

Much of the African continent does not see tornadic activity, but portions of South Africa are no stranger to their wrath. In fact, former leader Nelson Mandela nearly lost his life in a tornado in the Eastern Cape in December 1998. He was reportedly protected by his bodyguards who piled on top of him as he took cover on the floor of a local pharmacy.

10. Argentina

South America’s tornado hotspot is Argentina. While only about seven or so tornadoes hit the country every year, the tornadoes that do happen can be quite strong. 

Argentina’s strongest tornado to date (and the strongest in the Southern Hemisphere) is an F5 that moved through the small town of San Justo on 10 January 1973. At 300 yards wide, it damaged nearly 500 homes and killed 63, injuring 350 others.

Final Thoughts

Tornadoes are terrifying, and having one hurdle at you is a scary experience. Fortunately, storm warnings and tornado alerts are issued in countries like the US, to keep local people safe and sheltered if a twister touches down.

Have you ever experienced a tornado? We’d love to hear your story.

Published: October 13, 2018

One Response

  1. Avatar rebecca October 28, 2019

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