[A] large and powerful tornado struck Adairsville, Ga., killing at least one person in a mobile home park. That tornado, which may rank as an EF-4 — the second most powerful on the Enhanced Fujita Scale — overturned cars on I-75 and damaged numerous buildings in downtown Adairsville, which is about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta.
A local news broadcast included a helicopter flight over the area damaged by the twister.
One reason the no-fatality record stood so long was the unusually hot and dry weather of 2012.
During 2012, the same weather pattern associated with the record heat and drought also stifled tornado activity by keeping a very hot, dry, and stable air mass in place across Tornado Alley. The heart of Tornado Alley was where the drought was most intense. For example, Nebraska had its driest year on record last year, and extreme drought conditions were present in Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, and other states where spring and summer twisters are typical. While natural climate variability likely played a major role in initiating the drought, climate scientists said global warming may have made the drought worse by making conditions hotter, and therefore drier, than they otherwise might have been.
The man who died was named Anthony Raines. He was 51, and was killed when a tree crushed his mobile home while he slept.
- Deadly Georgia Tornado First in a Record 220 Days, Climate Central