Tornadoes of 1997
Jarrell, Texas F5 tornado damage
|Timespan||January - December 1997|
|Maximum rated tornado||F5 tornado|
|Tornadoes in U.S.||1,148|
|Damage (U.S.)||$731 million|
This page documents the tornadoes and tornado outbreaks of 1997, primarily in the United States. Most tornadoes form in the U.S., although some events may take place internationally. Tornado statistics for older years like this often appear significantly lower than modern years due to fewer reports or confirmed tornadoes, however by the 1990s tornado statistics were coming closer to the numbers we see today.
The 1997 tornado season was largely defined by two tornado events. The first was a major outbreak on March 1 that resulted in 27 fatalities, 25 of which were in Arkansas. The second was a brutal, slow-moving F5 twister that struck the small town of Jarrell, Texas on May 27 killing 27 people and leaving behind some of the most extreme tornado damage ever seen.
Confirmed tornado total for the entire year 1997 in the United States.
There were 70 tornadoes confirmed in the US in January.
A tornado outbreak for January produced 16 tornadoes in the Deep South the greatest number in central Tennessee. Damage from the tornadoes totaled around $16.771 million and 43 people were injured. An F2 tornado struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama on January 24, resulting in the first tornado fatality of the year. The tornado also injured 10 others and damaged up to 100 structures.
There were 23 tornadoes confirmed in the US in February.
February 28-March 1
The 1997 Benton, Arkansas tornado outbreak was a major tornado outbreak that struck portions of the central and southern United States mostly on March 1, 1997 with initial activity on February 28. Affecting areas mostly from Arkansas to Kentucky, the two-day outbreak produced 39 tornadoes and killed at least 27 people including 25 in Arkansas alone with one death in each Mississippi and Tennessee. This was Arkansas' deadliest tornado outbreak since May 15, 1968, where 34 were killed in Jonesboro. Over 400 others were injured during this event which was about 45% of the yearly average of tornado-related injuries in the United States.
There were 102 tornadoes confirmed in the US in March.
There were 114 tornadoes confirmed in the US in April.
There were 225 tornadoes confirmed in the US in May.
The Miami Tornado was an F1 tornado which touched down in Miami, Florida on May 12, 1997. The tornado is remembered not for its minor damage but for its haunting pictures, which made headlines around the world.
The 1997 Central Texas tornado outbreak was an unusual tornado outbreak in Central Texas which occurred on May 27, 1997. The F5 tornado that struck the town of Jarrell, Texas killed 27 people out of 1319 residents. The tornado was 3/4 of a mile (1.2 km) wide and tracked across the ground for 7.6 miles (12.2 km). Double Creek Estates, a subdivision of Jarrell, was literally wiped off the map with all 38 homes and several mobile homes destroyed.
There were 193 tornadoes confirmed in the US in June.
There were 188 tornadoes confirmed in the US in July.
The Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak occurred on July 2, 1997 in the built-up area of Detroit, Michigan. There were 13 tornadoes in total, 3 dragged through neighborhoods and downtown, hitting northern Detroit between I-96 and Eight Mile Road, Hamtramck and Highland Park. The storms killed 7, caused local flooding, and destroyed houses. 5 of the fatalities were recorded in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan due to straight-line winds of up to 100 mph that blew a gazebo full of people into Lake St. Clair. One tornado formed east of the Detroit River, in Essex County, Ontario near Windsor, Ontario and caused damage in Windsor and Essex County. The strongest tornado was listed as an F3.
There were 84 tornadoes confirmed in the US in August.
There were 32 tornadoes confirmed in the US in September.
There were 100 tornadoes confirmed in the US in October.
There were 25 tornadoes confirmed in the US in November.
There were 12 tornadoes confirmed in the US in December.
- "U.S. Annual Tornado Maps (1952 - 2011): 1997 Tornadoes". Storm Prediction Center. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- "Annual U.S. Killer Tornado Statistics". Storm Prediction Center. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- "Storm Events Database Search Results for all U.S. States and Areas". National Climatic Data Center. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- "Tuscaloosa Tornado 1/24/1997". National Weather Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 27, 2018.