Tornadoes Outside the US: Hot Spots and Prime Times

A large, thin funnel tornado
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Contrary to popular myths, tornadoes are not a uniquely American phenomenon. Of course, they are much, much more common in the US than they are elsewhere. However, other countries around the world have been struck by twisters.

Today we’re looking at some of the best non-US hotspots for tornado activity.

The Americas

Tornadoes are still something of a mystery. We know that certain conditions have to be met before they can form, and that they usually spin out of massive thunderstorms. For whatever reason, the Americas are the main location on Earth where the conditions that cause tornadoes occur.

We all know that the US is the prime location for this weather phenomenon. However, Argentina and Brazil are also known for their tornado activity.

Reporting outside of the US isn’t quite as good as it is here. The much less frequent twsiters seen in South America, paired with the significantly reduced presence of storm enthusiasts, makes it that much harder to get accurate info back from these areas.

Europe

Europe is another major hotspot of regular tornado activity. Unlike the US, however, which has a season and region that are both known for their high tornado activity, the EU could be struck by a tornado at any time of the year and in any region.

This is likely due to the presence of the Mediterranean Sea, numerous mountain ranges and oft-shifting weather conditions. Of course, the region isn’t as tornado-prone as the US, but it’s hardly tornado-free the way that common misconceptions would have you believe.

Australia

The Australian continent is also no stranger to tornado activity. While the Outback isn’t exactly home to a large amount of twisters, the East Coast of Australia has been known to see seasonal tornadoes. The summer and fall months along the coast could bring tornadoes when conflicting high- and low-pressure systems meet.

The West Coast of Australia is also known to receive scattered twisters during the same seasons. While the frequency doesn’t quite match American levels, it’s often enough to be considered a “tornado-prone” region by international weather agencies.

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Written by
Jeremy Liu

Jeremy Liu has always been fascinated by extreme weather—but he prefers to write about the world’s deadliest storms from the safety and comfort of his home office. He’s much less likely to get hit with a flying cow that way. (And yes, Jeremy’s favorite movie is Twister.)

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Written by Jeremy Liu