This year on Sunday, November 22, the city was under a tornado warning for a storm capable of producing a tornado. There was no confirmation of a tornado, but winds did a lot of damage to many trees.


What You Need To Know

  • New York City saw a rare tornado warning on November 22, 2020, but there was no confirmation of a tornado

  • Tornadoes in November for NYC are rare, and they haven't happened at all since at least 1950

  • Warm and humid air masses make tornadoes more likely, and that weather isn't typical in NYC in November

  • In the 5 boroughs, Septemeber and October are the latest months in the season that have had tornadoes

The severe weather that occurred this late in the season was thanks to a strong cold front. Most of the damage around the city was caused by straight-line damaging wind gusts that, in some cases, exceeded 60 mph.

As the line was moving through the city, the radar detected a rotation that indicated a possible tornado. The national weather service issued a tornado warning for Manhattan and the Bronx just after 8:30 p.m. on November 22, 2020.

They did not confirm a tornado, but it got me thinking. I know tornado warnings are rare this late in the season, but has there ever been a confirmed tornado in New York City in November.

The answer was just as I suspected. There probably hasn't been a tornado in November. I can't definitively know since we can only go by the records that we have. But, the records we do have are very detailed and date back to 1950.

Since 1950, no tornadoes have occurred within the five boroughs in November, but some got close! In 1995, Staten Island had a strong tornado at the very end of October. In the city, the latest in the season tornadoes form tend to be either September or October.

The fact that we haven't had a tornado in NYC in November doesn't surprise me very much. For a tornado to form, you typically need a warm and moist atmosphere in place, and that doesn't often happen in November.

Although, with our changing climate and seasons shifting around the calendar year, it could become possible in our near future.