The year 2023 brought many extreme and record-breaking weather events across the United States and worldwide.
From powerful hurricanes and tornado outbreaks to devastating wildfires and scorching heat waves, multiple weather disasters caused substantial damage, loss of life, and economic impacts.
January Kicks Off Year of Twisters
The year started with a record-breaking tornado outbreak in an atypical month for such severe storms. In January, usually marked by snowfall totals, there were 168 reported tornadoes over two outbreaks - more than triple the monthly historical average.
On January 12th alone, 70 tornado reports came in from seven states. This included two violent EF3 twisters in Alabama and Georgia, which together resulted in at least 9 deaths and 34 injuries.
An EF2 tornado also tore through the historic town of Selma, Alabama, about 40 miles from the state capital. Later in the month, additional regional tornado activity contributed to January's highest monthly tornado count since modern records began.
While tornadoes can form almost anywhere in the country on any day, given the right atmospheric conditions, January is statistically the third least tornadic month during a typical year.
The outbreaks underscored that no time of year is guaranteed to be tornado-free, even during the colder winter period when such extreme weather is unexpected.