We cannot identify the underlying social and scientific
reasons behind the decline in tornado deaths, but we can at least attempt to
describe from a statistical perspective how the decrease has occurred.
First, the number of killer tornadoes is, in general, less than it was 75 yr
ago. The median number of killer tornadoes per year from 1976 to 2000 was 17
and the maximum was 33. In contrast, the median from 1912 to 1936 was 39 and
the minimum was 17. Arguably more important than the number of killer
tornadoes, the number of deaths from individual ‘‘highdeath’’ tornadoes has
decreased. This fact can be seen in at least two different ways.