When is tornado season in Oklahoma? (2024)

Tornado season in Oklahoma falls during April, May, and June, though it’s not unheard of to see twisters make landfall throughout the entire year.

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Jennifer GimbelSenior Managing Editor & Home Insurance ExpertJennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.&Rachael BrennanSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertRachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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Britta M. MossBritta M. MossProperty & casualty claim consultant and expert witnessBritta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

Updated|5 min read

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Oklahoma is the third-most tornado-prone state in the U.S., averaging around 67 twisters each year. The Sooner State experienced 74 tornadoes total in 2023, with many of those pummeling Cleveland and Pottawatomie counties, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). [1] And so far in 2023, Oklahoma residents have seen five tornadoes make landfall. [2]  

Unfortunately, experts are predicting an above-average tornado season in 2024 that's fueled by climate change. [3] So when exactly is tornado season in Oklahoma? And how can you make sure you’re prepared? We break down everything you need to know about tornadoes and home insurance in Oklahoma.

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When is tornado season in Oklahoma?

Tornado season in Oklahoma runs from March through June each year, with almost 70% of tornadoes occuring during these months. [4] These months see warm humid air from the Gulf of Mexico mixing with cool dry air from Canada and warm dry air from New Mexico — forming the perfect storm for twisters to develop. While Sooners experience tornadoes during all 12 months of the year, they should be especially prepared toward the end of spring and beginning of summer.

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Where do tornadoes hit the most in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma County — home to Oklahoma City and Edmond — experiences the most tornadoes of any other county in Oklahoma, ringing in at 153 twisters in total from 1950 to 2022, according to the NOAA. [5] The runner up is Caddo County — home to Anadarko and Hinton — which saw 150 tornadoes during that same time period. 

Tornadoes by county in Oklahoma

Here’s a complete look at the total number of tornadoes in each county in Oklahoma from 1950 to 2022, according to the NOAA. [6]

Tornadoes in Oklahoma over the last 25 years

Since 1997, Oklahoma has averaged 67 tornadoes each year, according to data from the NOAA. [7]  

Here’s a breakdown of how many twisters touched down in the Sooner State over the last 25 years.

Where is Tornado Alley in Oklahoma?

Tornado Alley in Oklahoma runs straight through Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

What city in Oklahoma has the most tornadoes?

Oklahoma County — home to Oklahoma City and Edmond — see the most tornadoes each year, totaling 125 twisters from 1950 to 2021.

What months have the most tornadoes in Oklahoma?

The month of May sees the most tornadoes in Oklahoma, followed by April then June. This is because the warm, humid spring air coming from the Gulf and the cold, dry jet stream coming in from Canada creates the perfect mix of weather patterns that twisters thrive in.

Average number of tornadoes by month in Oklahoma

The month of May sees the most tornadoes in Oklahoma, followed by April then June. The months of January, February, August, and December see the least amount of tornadoes.

Here’s the average number of tornadoes per month in Oklahoma between 1950 and 2022, according to the NOAA. [8]  

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Does home insurance in Oklahoma cover tornado damage?

Homeowners insurance in Oklahoma covers damage caused by tornadoes, including the wind, hail, and rain that accompany them. However, water damage from flooding that occurs during a tornado would not be covered under your standard home insurance policy — you’ll need separate flood insurance for that.

The one exception is if you live in an area at high risk for wind damage — your home insurance policy might exclude damage from wind and hail. In this case, you’ll need to purchase a separate wind-only insurance policy to fill that coverage gap. 

Some Oklahoma homeowners have a separate windstorm deductible for tornado damage

If your home is damaged in a tornado in Oklahoma, your home insurance company may require you to pay a windstorm deductible that’s separate from your standard homeowners insurance deductible and applies specifically to wind and hail damage.

Windstorm deductibles in Oklahoma are typically a percentage of your policy’s dwelling coverage limit — usually between 1% and 5% — according to the Insurance Information Institute. [9] You can choose your deductible when you purchase your home insurance or windstorm insurance policy. A higher deductible leads to lower insurance rates, and vice versa.

How to prepare for tornado season in Oklahoma

From installing storm-proof shutters on your windows to knowing where to take shelter should a disaster strike, here are a few ways to prepare for tornado season in Oklahoma.

1. Get your home ready for severe weather

This includes trimming tree limbs that hang close to your roof, removing dead trees from your yard, cleaning up any heavy debris (i.e. branches, bricks, firewood) on your property, and moving lawn furniture inside when a twister nears. If you live in an area especially prone to tornadoes, consider installing storm-proof window shutters or upgrading to an impact-resistant roof. 

2. Make an emergency kit

FEMA recommends packing a few bags with essentials you can easily grab as you take shelter when a tornado nears. [10] Some items to include in your emergency kit include: water, non-perishable foods and baby formula, a can opener, moist towelettes and trash bags, batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, portable cell phone chargers, a battery-powered radio, and a whistle to signal for help.

3. Find a place to take shelter

While no place will keep you completely safe during a tornado, hunkering down in a basement or inside a windowless room on the lowest floor of your home is your safest bet. For even more protection, take shelter under something sturdy like a heavy table or workbench, cover yourself with a blanket or mattress, and protect your head from flying debris. 

4. Know the signs of a tornado

If you live in an area of Oklahoma at high risk for tornadoes, knowing what to look for during a severe weather system can help you stay prepared. Be on the lookout for rotating, funnel-shaped clouds, low-lying clouds of debris, large hail, a dark or green-colored sky, and a loud roar that sounds like a freight train — all of these could forewarn a tornado is near.

5. Sign up for severe weather alerts

Anyone can sign up for severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service via text, email, or phone. In addition, many cities throughout Oklahoma have outdoor warning siren systems to warn residents to take shelter indoors during extreme weather conditions, including tornadoes. Just a few of the cities in Oklahoma that have these outdoor warning systems include Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Moore, Ada, and Claremore.

6. Stay up to date on changing weather conditions

On top of signing up for weather alerts and keeping your ears to the ground for any outdoor warning sirens, staying up to date on changing weather conditions via your local news and radio stations or even through social media can help you know when a tornado is near.

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References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of oureditorial standards.

  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    . "

    2022 Oklahoma Tornadoes

    ." Accessed December 30, 2022.

  2. NOAA's National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center

    . "

    Annual Severe Weather Report Summary 2023

    ." Accessed February 22, 2023.

  3. AL.com

    . "

    How bad will 2023 tornado season be? Climate change may have fueled Alabama storms, experts say

    ." Accessed February 22, 2023.

  4. Weather.gov

    . "

    Severe Weather Awareness Week - Tornado Safety

    ." Accessed February 26, 2024.

  5. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

    . "

    Storm Events Database

    ." Accessed February 22, 2023.

  6. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

    . "

    Monthly and Annual Statistics for Tornadoes in Oklahoma (1950-Present)

    ." Accessed May 31, 2022.

  7. Insurance Information Institute

    . "

    Understanding Your Insurance Deductibles

    ." Accessed May 31, 2022.

  8. FEMA

    . "

    How to Build an Emergency Kit

    ." Accessed May 31, 2022.

Authors

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Expert reviewer

Britta M. Moss, CPCU, SCLA, AIC-M, has over 25 years of insurance industry experience. In her work as a property and casualty claim consultant, she provides consultation and expert witness services in claim handling standards, practices, and norms.  She has been retained by law firms representing plaintiffs and those representing insurer defendants involved in disputes or litigation regarding coverage analysis, investigation, liability determination, damage evaluation, negotiation and settlement.  She is a graduate of The Ohio State University. 

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