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Weather IQ: Carolina February Tornadoes

Tornadoes are not common during February compared to the warmer months, but they do happen in the Carolinas. Let's get more weather wise in this weeks Weather IQ.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. — February tornadoes happen more often than you think in North Carolina, and they've happened recently over the last couple of years. 

Since 1950, North Carolina has had 70 reported tornadoes during the month of February, which averages out to around one per year. 

Of those, 11 were reported across 10 counties in the Charlotte area on Feb. 6, 2020. Cabarrus and Cleveland each saw an EF2 tornado during the outbreak. This day was historic in terms of tornadoes and was the wettest February day ever recorded in Charlotte. 

As for South Carolina, they have seen 57 twisters over the last 71 years during the second month of the year. None of those have ever been greater than F2 or EF2 strength. 

The Fujita vs the Enhanced Fujita Scale

The Fujita scale was converted to the Enhanced Fujita Scale in 2007. All tornadoes before 2007 use an F0-F5 compared to the EF we use today, which estimates wind speeds more accurately. 

🌩ī¸ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte First Warn Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. đŸŽĨ

Strongest February Tornadoes

The strongest tornados to happen in the Carolinas during February all occurred in North Carolina. Two F3 tornadoes were reported in Cumberland and Sampson County on Feb. 22, 1971. 

And more recently, Brunswick County had a monster EF3 on Feb. 15, 2021. This tornado traveled 22 miles, was 275 miles wide with an estimated wind peak of 160 mph (nearly an EF4). Sadly, this tornado killed three people and injured 10. 

RELATED: At least 3 dead, 10 hurt after EF-3 tornado rips through southeastern NC

In the Carolinas, tornadoes are possible, all 12 months of the year which is why we are here to keep you all a little more weather wise. 

Contact Chris Mulcahy at cmulcahy@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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