GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The tornado that hit Gaylord on May 20, 2022, was the strongest tornado to happen in the month of May in the United States.
I thought that might be the case, so I looked through the storm reports for May. There were no EF4 or EF5 tornadoes in the U.S. during May of last year (for the third May in a row). The Gaylord tornado had a peak wind of 150 mph.
The other two strong EF3 tornadoes occurred on May 4 near Lockett, Texas, and May 30 near Altamont, South Dakota. Both of those tornadoes had peak winds of 140 mph. So it looked like the Gaylord tornado was the strongest tornado in the U.S. during the month of May. To check my work, I sent an email to the Storm Prediction Center and got this reply the next day from Jared Guyer, a Lead Forecaster at SPC:
I then was curious to find out if the Gaylord tornado was the strongest tornado anywhere in the world in the month of May. There were two strong tornadoes in Europe also on May 20. These two tornadoes occurred in Germany at Lippstadt and Paderborn, where they still use the old F-scale to measure tornado winds. There are some great videos of these tornadoes on YouTube. Both of these tornadoes are classified F2 with winds between 113 and 157 mph. I could not find a specific peak wind.
So I can’t say for sure, but I’d say it’s likely that the fastest wind anywhere on earth in May 2022 was in Gaylord, Michigan.
If you’d have told me in April 2022 that the fastest wind on earth — the whole planet — would be in a strong EF3 tornado in Gaylord MI, I would have told you that the odds of that are the same as the Detroit Tigers winning the World Series, the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl, the Detroit Red Winds winning the Stanley Cup and Bill Steffen picking a perfect NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket all in the same year.