WASHINGTON (AP) _ The 83 tornadoes that have battered the United States so far this month set a record for the first half of October, the National Weather Service said Monday.
Last week alone 59 twisters struck, the agency said.
``Despite the record number of tornadoes, there were no fatalities and only twelve minor injuries during this most recent outbreak,'' said Dan McCarthy, warning coordination meteorologist at the federal Storm Prediction Center.
Last week's storms struck in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
``Just in those five days, there were more than double the average number of October tornadoes,'' said McCarthy.
``The average number of tornadoes in October since the National Weather Service began tracking tornadoes in 1950 is 29 events,'' he said. ``The previous record for the first half of any October was set in 1998, when 47 confirmed tornadoes hit various parts of the nation, including about a dozen in Oklahoma.
``October is not usually this active but, since we are only halfway through this month, we are watching for any further changes in atmospheric systems that could continue this active trend,'' McCarthy said.
He said the most tornadoes for any October occurred in 1997, with 100 reported. The second highest number was 86, set in October 1998.