Sometimes numbers speak louder than words.
Latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that there may have been 871 tornadoes in April 2011, bringing the total for the year so far to 1,036 (see NOAA chart below).
But before we jump to conclusions about record-breaking numbers, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to read the fine print.
First, these figures from NOAAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Storm Prediction Center are a preliminary count of eyewitness reports for tornado events not a count of actual tornadoes.
SPCÃ‚ also cautions that comparisons between preliminary counts and actual counts from prior years should be avoided.
An articleÃ‚ by the Dallas Weather Examiner points out that if all the 871 tornado reports during April 2011 verify for separate tornadoes, then this would eclipse the current monthly record of 542 tornadoes from May 2003.
But it goes on to suggest that because many of these reports are duplicates, the verified tornado total for April 2011 will probably come in below 542. This would leave May 2003 with the highest tornado count for any month.
Check out the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) Disaster Newsroom for latest tornado updates and eyewitness reports from Tuscaloosa, AL by Bill Davis, regional representative for the I.I.I.
Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on tornadoes.