Severe weather is still very much a threat here in the midwest region of the country. Many people are still recovering from the April 2nd storms, which produced 17 tornados across the Tri-State area according to the National Weather Service. Kentucky is not out of the proverbial woods either. As tornado season continues, the Bluegrass State is likely to see more twisters.

READ MORE: ‘Tornado Alley’ is Shifting - Now Includes Midwest and Portions of Kentucky

If it seems like there have been more tornado warnings and tornados touching down each year in Kentucky, that's because there have been, and there is data to prove it. A study was recently released by tracking the increase in high-intensity tornados across the country over the last 20 years. During that time, Kentucky has had one of the biggest spikes.

To find the locations with the largest increase in tornadoes, researchers ranked locations by the total change in high-intensity tornado occurrences from the 20-year period ending in November 2004 to the 20-year period ending in November 2023. High-intensity tornadoes were considered to be those categorized as EF2 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

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According to the study, Kentucky has had the fifth-largest increase in high-intensity tornados in America since 2003. What does that actually mean? Take a look at these alarming figures from the report:

  • Kentucky experienced 158 high-intensity tornadoes from 2004-2023, which is 67 more than the previous 20-year period (1984-2003).
  • Those 158 tornados resulted in 113 fatalities and over 1,100 injuries.
  • Kentucky faced average annual damages of just over $29 million (after adjusting for inflation) each year of the study period.

The graphic above shows what scientists have been telling us - that over the past 20 years, high-intensity tornados have spread farther into the Southeast and Midwest. You can see that Kentucky has gotten quite a bit darker which means we are likely to see a continued increase in tornado activity.

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