Texas recorded 244 tornadoes last year making it the highest number of twisters to ever touch down in the lone star state since the record keeping began in 1950, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.
The tornadoes claimed 17 lives and were responsible for 16 weather catastrophes last year, which produced three times as many insurance claims than any other state, a March 1 ICT press release states.
National weather officials say storm chasers and a building interest in observing this weather phenomena has produced more tornado sightings since the official count began. But Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center Greg Carbin said 2015 was no ordinary year.
“2015 was a banner year for tornadoes in the state of Texas,” Carbin said. “While many of the tornadoes occurred in May, a resurgence of dangerous weather returned in mid-November, and again in late December. Damaging tornadoes in the Panhandle in November were highly unlikely and the December 26 events in the Dallas area were also quite devastating and rare for that time of year.”
Meteorologists say 1995 and 1967 had been the previous record years for tornado sightings in Texas with 232. 2014 was also a record setting year as there were only 46 confirmed tornadoes. It was the lowest number of tornado sightings in Texas since 1953.
“The extremely high number of tornadoes coincides with our abundant rainfall last year,” said Mark Hanna, an ICT spokesperson. “We seem to go from one extreme to the other.”
The Insurance Council of Texas is the largest state insurance trade association in the country consisting of approximately 500 property and casualty insurers writing business in Texas.