How rare are January tornadoes?

From Edenton, NC. John Irving

From Edenton, NC. John Irving

The National Weather Service office in Wakefield has confirmed three tornadoes hit Hampton Roads on Saturday. One EF-0 tornado hit the Fox Hill section of Hampton and two EF-0 tornadoes hit separate parts of Isle of Wight County.

After the storms moved out, Brian contacted me on Facebook with a great weather question… Brian: “OK Myles Henderson Wtkr how rare is this for us in January?”

I replied with “@Brian Uncommon but not unheard of at all.”

Brian: “Thanks maybe you can tell us last time it did this in January on Monday.”

Here you go Brian!

According to tornado records between 1950 and 2012, there have been 1318 tornadoes in the U.S. during the month of January —  13 January tornadoes in the state of Virginia and 27 in North Carolina. There have only been 4 January tornadoes in Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina on record. In Sussex County, James City County, and Perquimans County in 2006 and in Dare County in 1996.

Another way to think about it… Less than 2% of all Virginia tornadoes on record occur in January and just over 2% of all North Carolina tornadoes.

Nationwide, December is the month with the fewest tornadoes. January has the second fewest. On the flip side, March has the most with over 12,000 tornadoes reported.

So Brian, to answer your question… 2006 was the last time we had January tornadoes in Hampton Roads. Yes, it is a rare thing to see but it is possible and we do see it.