How Many Tornadoes Do You Think We’ve Had in Maine This Year?
Obviously, this was a trick question.
In fact, News Center Maine posted that our weather moving in this weekend provides what they call a "non-zero chance" of a tornado touching down this weekend. Although ironically, non-zero means there actually isn't a 100% we won't see a tornado. It's one of those phrases that kind of means the opposite of what it sounds like.
So what chance do we ever have on a regular basis for seeing a tornado touchdown? I'm no good with math, so I'm not really out to calculate the odds, but Maine only averages two tornadoes per year. In 2023, we haven't had one at all. Although it would seem the busiest year for tornadoes was 2017 when we recorded 7 touchdowns.
Do Maine tornadoes cause a lot of damage?
I think we all know the answer to that too. Granted, it's not zero damage. But when you see the widespread paths of carnage left behind storms out in the midwest and south, you start to appreciate how sheltered we are from that kind of meteorological activity. Same with earthquakes and hurricanes. They happen, but we seem to be spared the nasty stuff.
Most of the reason they're so minor here is that winds within most Maine tornadoes is pretty tame. A lot of them don't even feature winds over 50mph. Most of ours don't even register on the Fujita Scale, which is how the strength of a twister is measured. We're likely never to see one of those giant bad boys you see in the movies.
We've had 74 of them since 1950, and so little damage it's hardly worth talking about. So even though the chance of seeing one is extremely slim, it's never absolutely zero. But hey, seeing a bunch of tornadoes isn't something we really want our resume anyway, right?