What are the odds of being killed in a tornado?

Tornadoes can cause billions of dollars in damage, bringing devastation to a region, but what are the odds of being killed in a tornado?




Tornadoes are a weather reality that millions of Americans have learned to live with. Those living in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States have come to expect at least a few twisters every year. Depending on the intensity, the path and perhaps even a little bit of luck, tornadoes result in varying degrees of damage, and sometimes, most tragically, even in death.

The Odds of Being Killed In a Tornado

  • The odds of being killed in a tornado in a given year are 1 in 5,693,092.
  • The term killer tornado refers to the roughly 2% of tornadoes that result in the loss of human life.
  • 1 in 1,000 tornadoes documented in the United States are EF5 or Category 5 tornadoes.
  • EF5 tornados contribute over 36% of all deaths caused by tornadoes.
  • While the combined totals of EF4 and EF5 tornadoes make up less than 1% of all tornadoes, together they contribute nearly 70% of all of the deaths caused by tornadoes.
  • Over 80% of killer tornadoes in the United States take place in the months of February through June.

Calculations based on storm data from www.spc.noaa.gov for the years 2008-2013. Population estimates from census.gov.