The Six Counties With The Most Tornadoes
I'm not sure if you're aware or not, but the National Weather Service has just happened to keep really good records of weather events throughout the history of the organization. They began collecting data on the weather as far back as their formation in 1861. I'm not sure what type of sciences and studies they did that long ago, but I'm fairly confident the forecasts have gotten ever so slightly more accurate since then. It's still predicting the future, but it's honest work.
Records of Oklahoma's most famous weather events, tornadoes, date back to the 1950's, and most of that information recently became available to the public. Which is great for us, because without that information, I'd probably be writing something about a subject you don't care about. You have to understand that this information only runs up to 2018, so there may have been changes in the last two years to this list, but we won't find out until they release that information too.
Here's the Top 6 Oklahoma counties that have had the most tornadoes since 1950.
Before you hop down into the comment section to correct me on my numbering, hold up. At number five on the top six list, Tulsa County has tied with another for sharing an identical number of tornadoes, 97.
The other county with 97 tornadoes on record since 1950 is my home-county in the state of Kay. Located just one county away from Tulsa County, you'd almost guess that most Kay County tornadoes travel to Tulsa County, and that's why they tied, but that just isn't the case. You see, 99.9% of tornadoes follow a Northeastern path. That's just how the weather works, and Tulsa County is Southeast of Kay, separated by the states largest county, Osage.
Named for the river that runs through it, Canadian County is home to El Reno, Yukon, Mustang, Union City, and Piedmont. Those towns should sound familiar, as tornadoes have ripped through all of them in the last ten years, including the largest and fastest wind-speed tornado on record in the world. That particular storm produced the only F5 storm on a long list of the 103 twisters that have occurred in that county.
We very briefly mentioned Osage County when talking about Tulsa and Kay above. If you remember, Osage County is right in between those two counties. It's sprawling. A massive county on the map. It's only natural that 106 tornadoes have touched down in that county alone, although, given its size, I'm more surprised that number isn't bigger.
Historically, the destruction is somewhat low due to the size of the county. While it is the biggest in the state, it's also one of the lowest populated. Pawhuska is famous there for the Pioneer Woman (ask your wife/mother), otherwise, it's tiny town after tiny town of travel.
Consider this a dark horse entry on the list. I'm sure you were thinking we'd slowly move closer and closer to OKC on this list, and while you're not wrong, the counties surrounding our capital just don't have the numbers to be at the top of this list.
Caddo County is our neighbor to the Northwest here in Comanche. An almost shocking 121 tornadoes have rolled across those rolling hills since 1950.
I told you we were moving towards OKC. Oklahoma County is another massive county in this state, but much different than the scarcely populated Osage County, Oklahoma County is pretty densely populated.
If you remember the great tornado that most call the May-99 tornado, it was one of the most expensive on record. At over a mile wide, it tore through four counties on it's eventual journey through Moore. The destruction was so devastating, laws are on the books now that require all new home to have tornado shelters, and there are/were programs out there to help current residents obtain shelters over the last twenty-two years.
Since 1950, Oklahoma County has had 122 tornadoes sweep through.