Rating Ruin

The Worst States for Tornadoes, From Oklahoma to Illinois

Oklahoma is no stranger to tornadoes. In fact, according to a new ranking by The Daily Beast, it’s the most tornado-prone state in America. See the full list.

(Clockwise from top left) Lori Mehmen/AP; Sean Gardner/Getty; Seth Perlman/AP; Tom Pennington/Getty;

(Clockwise from top left) Lori Mehmen/AP; Sean Gardner/Getty; Seth Perlman/AP; Tom Pennington/Getty;

10 Worst Tornado States

For the community of Moore, Oklahoma, tornadoes are a nearly annual occurrence. Since 1950, Cleveland County has experienced 67 tornadoes, including the record-breaking twister of 1999. But it’s not just the suburban enclave of Moore that’s favored by twisters—according to national weather data analyzed by The Daily Beast, Oklahoma is the most tornado-prone state in the country.


Using data compiled by NOAA’s National Weather Service severe weather database files, which includes tornado reports from 1950 through the end of 2012, we calculated which states have the highest tornado incidence rates. As we did two years ago, we ranked the states based on the number of tornadoes per square mile and the average severity of tornadoes using the Fujita scale. (The tornado per square mile was weighted twice the severity level.)

Charlie Riedel/AP

1. Oklahoma

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.051

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 0.99

Total fatalities: 462

Total injuries: 7,390

Photo: Moore, Oklahoma, 2013

Joe Raedle/Getty

2. Florida

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.059

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 0.53

Total fatalities: 162

Total injuries: 3,310

Photo: Lady Lake, Florida, 2007

Sean Gardner/Getty

3. Mississippi

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.041

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 1.16

Total fatalities: 509

Total injuries: 6,647

Photo: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, 2013

Michael Conroy/AP

4. Indiana

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.037

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 1.21

Total fatalities: 341

Total injuries: 5,271

Photo: Henryville, Indiana, 2012 

Eliot Kamenitz/Times-Picayune/Landov

5. Louisiana

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.042

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 1.00

Total fatalities: 205

Total injuries: 3,336

Photo: New Orleans, Louisiana, 2006 

Tom Pennington/Getty

6. Alabama

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.038

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 1.14

Total fatalities: 823

Total injuries: 9,285

Photo: Holt, Alabama, 2002 

Charlie Riedel/AP

7. Kansas

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.047

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 0.73

Total fatalities: 297

Total injuries: 3,306

Photo: Ogallah, Kansas, 2008

Lori Mehmen/AP

8. Iowa

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.041

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 0.97

Total fatalities: 84

Total injuries: 2,258

Photo: Orchard, Iowa, 2008

Joe Raedle/Getty

9. Arkansas

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.032

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 1.24

Total fatalities: 384

Total injuries: 5,368

Photo: Etna, Arkansas, 2011

Seth Perlman/AP

10. Illinois

Tornadoes per square mile: 0.040

Average intensity (scale 1 to 5): 0.89

Total fatalities: 236

Total injuries: 4,719

Photo: Ridgway, Illinois, 2012