The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

May 1, 2013

Huntsville region tops in nation for tornadoes

Nowhere to run

By Adam Smith
adam@athensnews-courier.com

— People who live within 75 miles of Huntsville are at the greatest risk of being impacted by a tornado, according to a new list compiled by The Weather Channel.

The “Top 10 Tornado Cities” list, authored by severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes, used information from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center from the years 1962-2011. Forbes also added up the areas of the tornado paths and examined widths and lengths of each twister.

The end result placed Huntsville/Madison County at the top of the list, with a total track of 1,520 square miles over the 49-year period. The distance also takes into account the 75-mile radius, which would include portions of Limestone County.

“In the past, I’ve looked at the number of tornadoes then divided by the area of the county. When you factor that in, Huntsville ranks seventh,” Forbes said. “But when you factor in the area impacted, it sends (the city) up to first.”