June 2008 is going down in the record books as one of the wettest, and also one of the deadliest weather months, according to state climatologist Harry Hillaker. Hillaker says the tornado on June 11th that killed four Boy Scouts in western Iowa raised the death toll for tornadoes up to 12, the highest number since 1948.
Hillaker says the thunderstorms in June are not out of the ordinary, but it seemed like they just kept popping up. Hillaker says this year was certainly more active than most Junes, as severe thunderstorms were reported in 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties, with Audubon and Pochontas the only counties not to report them. He says Benton County in east-central Iowa appeared to be the most active, with severe thunderstorms reported on 10 days in June.
Hillaker says all the reports on severe weather are not yet in. He says exact number of tornadoes is not yet completed, but the National Weather Service is estimating there were between 65 and 70 tornadoes. Hillaker says an average year produces around four dozen tornadoes.
Hillaker says we’ve already exceeded the average number of tornadoes, and the second half of the year tends to be quieter than the first half. But, he says we can’t let our guard down, because there have been fatal tornadoes into November in past years. The thunderstorms did not have to produce tornadoes to turn deadly, as two teens were killed in Council Bluffs June 27th when a tree was blown onto their car during a severe storm.