JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – May is typically the most active month across the US for tornadoes, but this year we saw the fewest tornadoes during the month of May over the last 50 years.
If you look at the preliminary tornado reports from the Storm Prediction Center, the number of reports is high, with 112 reports for May, but there are duplicate reports of the same tornado from different National Weather Service offices included, so the number is elevated.
For a more accurate number, Evan Bentley who is a severe weather meteorologist for the NWS/SPC, estimates there were around 50 confirmed tornadoes this May.
As expected, confirmed tornadoes follows the same trend. The best count I can find is 49 confirmed tornadoes through May 25 (possibly a few more from yesterday). There have not been less than 100 confirmed tornadoes in any month of May since 1970 (88). https://t.co/Rqf3DVVSTq— Evan Bentley (@evan_bentley) May 26, 2020
According to Bentley, we have not had less than 100 tornadoes reported in the month of May since 1970, so this is the quietest month of May in 50 years.
In Bentley’s twitter feed he also looks into the last time no moderate or high-risk outlooks were issued for the month of May. The data is only available to query back to 1995, but from that point forward this month is the only one.
The @NWSSPC issued 10 tornado watches in the month of May. This is the fewest in the digital era (1970-present). Here is the rest of the top 5:— Evan Bentley (@evan_bentley) June 1, 2020
Moral of the story: Don't storm chase in May on even numbered years post 2012.
He notes that only 10 tornado watches were issued for the month, and compares the years with the lowest number of watches issued.