WARMTH AND MAY MEAN AN INCREASE IN TORNADOES....

April 25, 2018

Here's some news that should make many of you happy. It's the 6-10 day outlook from the Weather Prediction Center. Above normal temperatures for the Midwest?

 

This is the first extended period of above normal temperatures I've seen since February. With cold and relatively dry air dominating the pattern for so long, severe weather has been at a minimum over all but the far southern United States. As of April 23rd, only 262 twisters have been reported compared to the average of 410. (63% of normal)

 

Here's where that compares to the annual trends of the past 12 years. Notice we are entering the time of year when the numbers dramatically increase.

That's to be expected as we enter the peak of the tornado season. Currently Oklahoma is where the heart of the activity is typically centered.

However, not a single twister has been reported in the Sooner state. Barring something unforeseen, 2018 will set the record for the latest first tornado of the year...that's April 26th. 

If you're wondering if the slow start means a slow year, consider this. In 2010, Oklahoma had recorded only 3 tornadoes through 3:37pm May 10th. Five hours later, 56 twisters had touched down and the number had grown to 59. There's little statistical evidence that a quiet start means down year. 

2008 is another example of a year that started uneventful with cool damp weather dominating the central Midwest much of May. Finally, the warmth of approaching summer moved north creating a volatile border for strong storms. A tornado outbreak was the end result lasting 9 days from May 22 to May 31 of 2008. It was one of the largest continuous tornado outbreaks on record. A total 239 tornadoes were confirmed, with the most intense activity occurring across the Great Plains and Midwest. Nine were killed by an EF5 tornado that destroyed the south side of Parkersburg, Iowa and a small subdivision of New Hartford, Iowa (located near Waterloo, Iowa). Here's a view of the violent tornado as moved close to Parkersburg.

Some damage images from Parkersburg.

 

While I don't see any short term threat of severe weather, the country averages more than 1,000 twisters each year. With only 262 so far and the peak of the season rapidly approaching, chances are good the warmer to come will significantly increase those numbers in the weeks ahead. Roll weather...TS 

 

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© 2019 Terry Swails