What’s The Deal With Tornadoes in Maine?
Does Maine Get Tornadoes?
Although, if you asked 10-year-old Meghan, she would have confidently told you “no way.” But, yes way, we do get tornadoes here in the Pine Tree State.
Maine definitely isn’t known for its natural disasters and is more known for being one of the safest states in the country but that doesn’t stop us from getting twisters. Do they happen often? No, but we do get at least one every year.
How Many Tornadoes Does Maine Get Per Year?
On average, Maine sees approximately two tornadoes per calendar year, according to Maine.gov and these usually happen during large thunderstorms in the southwestern and central parts of our state, not on the coast.
The Maine.gov website shares information about Maine’s history of tornadoes, sharing that for the 40-year period between 1950-1990, 74 tornadoes touched the ground in Maine which brings us to our current average of about two per year; However, back in 2017, seven tornadoes hit the state.
How Many Tornadoes Has Maine Ever Had?
While yeah, we do have tornadoes, they aren’t nearly the giant bastards you see in Tornado Alley. We don’t have the right climate to conjure up a beast of a ‘nado and all confirmed cases in Maine have been an EF2 or lower. I guess for that to make sense to you, I should explain that scale.
So, as the Maine.gov website explains, the scale used to measure tornado damage is called the Enhanced Fujita Scale and it goes as follows:
- EF-0 - Light damage (winds 65 to 85 mph)
- EF-1 - Moderate damage (winds 86 to 110 mph)
- EF-2 - Considerable damage (winds 111 to 135 mph)
- EF-3 - Severe damage (winds 136 to 165 mph)
- EF-4 - Devastating damage (winds 166 to 200 mph)
- EF-5 - Incredible damage (winds over 200 mph)
All of Maine’s tornadoes have been on the lower end of the scale, not causing too much damage and only ever causing one fatality. According to 24/7 Wall St. with data from the NOAA, Maine has had a total of 139 tornadoes recorded since 1950 with our last one being in 2020 in Cumberland County at Sebago Lake.
While that may have been our last recorded one, a few of us here in the Portland area thought we were getting a twister here yesterday. Jadd from Q9.79 used to live in Tusla, Oklahoma and saw some scarily familiar cloud formations happening in the city yesterday.
My sister, around the same time, texted me in a panic that the sky in North Yarmouth was green and rain was coming down sideways. As someone who lived in Kentucky for a few years, she was alarmed.
When Was The Last Tornado in Maine?
Regardless of the spooky clouds and scarily-colored sky yesterday, we haven’t actually had a tornado touch ground here since 2020. It didn’t cause a lot of damage and happened right over Sebago Lake.
The most destructive tornado in Maine, according to the Wall St. website, was back in 1988 in Androscoggin County on July 14 with winds that reached 73 mph and caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage.
We haven’t had a twister like that since but with the way our climate is changing around, I’m a little nervous to find out when we’ll get the next one and how big it will be.