The 2017 tornado season has been an active one so far. With the latest twisters near Canton, Texas killing 4 over the weekend, more than 30 fatalities have occurred this year and the season is just hitting high gear. Here's the Canton tornado.
As you can see it was big and bad. The NWS survey below classified it as a very strong EF4 with winds of 175-185 mph. The long track violent tornado was on the ground for nearly 40 minutes.
Following the storm the 2017 inflation adjusted tornado count in the U.S. is at 541. That puts this year in the top 95%.
The yearly total for this point in the season ranks only behind 2011 and 2008.
At this time of year, severe weather is most likely to occur over the southern Plains in a 250 mile radius centered on Oklahoma. The bullseye will steadily advance northward over the next few weeks. In my local area peak season is roughly mid-May to mid-June.
Despite statistical evidence indicating an increase in tornado activity over the Midwest in May, I'm not seeing much that looks exciting through at least the middle of the month as cool dry air dominates the overall pattern. I expect activity to pick up substantially the last third of the month
On the topic of tornadoes I came across and interesting article from the NWS in Minneapolis regarding a 1967 tornado outbreak that hit northern Iowa and Minnesota. Click on the image below to find out more on what's known as "Black Sunday".
May 3rd is also the anniversary of one of the strongest tornadoes in United States history. In 1999 an EF5 slammed into Moore, Oklahoma with winds of 300 mph. 40 people were killed and 675 injured. Click on the image below for a nice re-cap of the event from the NWS in Norman, Oklahoma.
As you probably guessed with my focus on tornadoes and severe storms, there's not much going on in the central Midwest weather pattern. A significant storm will impact parts of Missouri and Illinois the next 48 hours but the only impacts for my area will be some clouds and a reinforcing burst of cool air that keeps temperatures below normal into the weekend. Steady as she goes. Roll weather...TS