AP NEWS

Phoenix metro area had 7 confirmed tornadoes last year

January 8, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The National Weather Service says there were seven confirmed tornadoes in Maricopa and Pinal counties last year, the most in nearly five decades.

Meteorologists say last year’s total is second only to the 10 confirmed tornadoes that hit the Phoenix metro area in 1972.

They say all of the 2019 tornadoes were considered weak, ranking as either F0 or F1 in intensity.

But in June 1972, an F2 tornado damaged about 200 homes in Paradise Valley and caused extensive damage to canals and power lines in Scottsdale and east Phoenix.

The National Weather Service in Phoenix has data on tornadoes going back to 1950.

Meteorologists say there were five confirmed tornadoes in the metro Phoenix area in both 1992 and 1993 with four tornadoes in 1971.

Tornadoes are considered a rare event because the Phoenix area generally doesn’t get the wind shear and unstable air mass needed to whip up the twisters.