The severe weather season is off to a quiet start nationally. So far the inflation number (confirmed reports) is just 54. The 3 year average is closer to 120. Only 2 fatalities have been registered which is far lower than the 3 year average of 11. So far so good!
At this point in 2018 the national count is only 25% of normal.
The big years of the past decade have been 2008 and 2011. In 2008, 2194 tornadoes were confirmed and in 2011 coming off a La Nina (like we are this year), 1897 were reported. Unfortunately, many were violent tornadoes that struck populated areas such as Joplin and Tuscaloosa. The death toll in Joplin alone was 158 with 553 fatalities nationally. Last year only 35 perished with the most in a single tornado only 7.
Going forward the severe weather season starts to pick up steam. Here's the severe weather probabilities centered on March 11th.
Now look at the increase in activity by April 1st.
Now May 1
Finally June 3rd.
It's clear to see that the increase in heat and moisture moving north in the spring fuels the instability that ramps up the season and forces it north. In my local area, May and early June are prime time for severe weather outbreaks.
Below you see the number of significant severe weather events from 1980 to 2006 centered on the Quad Cities. The red lines represent tornadoes of at least EF2 strength and their tracks. During the period a total of 1276 tornadoes were reported.
While the rest of this week looks quiet, a group of meteorologist including Victor Gensini from Northern Illinois University (I met him last year on a chase, a nice guy and a real tornado hound) have been working on a method of forecasting tornadoes and severe weather by the use of analogs and predicted patterns. It's intriguing and has shown signs of success, at least in a broad sense. The program is called ERTAF-Extended Range Tornado Activity Forecasts.
Here's the outlook for week 2, March 18th to 24th
Here's the top ten analogs used to develop the forecast. Another important consideration was the expected development of west coast trough which should increase instability. We'll keep an eye on where this goes in the week 3 period.
Meanwhile, the next few days look quiet as any active weather remains south of my area. Today will be day 10 with no measurable precipitation, I'm already bored! Roll weather...TS