It's very early in the year but the severe weather and tornado season has gotten off to a roaring start in the southeastern United States. Through early February we've already had 3 significant tornado outbreaks and the Storm Prediction Center claims a preliminary count of 138 tornadoes. That puts 2017 in the 90th percentile and far above the long term averages.
In the chart below you can see the 3 year average for tornadoes previous to 2017 was 16. We've crushed that with the 138 to date. The 20 deaths far surpass the 2 for the combined previous 3 years. Last year there were only 10 killer tornadoes. This year we've already had 3.
Another feature of this years severe weather season is the fact that SPC issued a high risk outlook January 22nd for parts of Georgia and Florida. That's the first time for one of those since 2014 and the onset of more stringent standards.
U.S. Tornadoes has an excellent article on high risk assessments and why they should be heeded. Just click on the image to read the story.
With the warmth we've seen early, a weak La Nina, and extremely warm water in the Gulf, it will be interesting to see if the active severe weather season continues and migrates northward with the arrival of spring. It would not surprise me if this turns out to be an active year in the Midwest. We've been living on borrowed time for quite a few years and it's just a mtter of time before the odds even out. Roll weather...TS