Here we are April 17th and so far not a single severe weather watch or warning has been issued for for my area. That's not unheard of but it is well past the average date for some sort of severe weather event to occur. You can see how far north severe weather probabilities have already advanced by April 22nd.
In 2017 we had our first tornado watch and warnings February 28. A warm front lifted northward across eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois, and far northeast Missouri during the day on Tuesday bringing an unusually warm air mass to the area. Severe thunderstorms developed during the afternoon and moved northeastward across the region. These storms produced numerous hail around the size of quarters with a few stones up to the size of tennis balls near Galva, Illinois along with several tornadoes. These were the first recorded February tornadoes within the Quad Cities NWS area. More than 70 tornadoes were reported around the central U.S.
As I pondered the issue of severe weather outbreaks it occurred to me that I could not remember the last time SPC issued a high risk outlook for my area. The most recent one I could find covering more than 2 counties in my viewing area was issued April 11, 2001. It was so long ago (18 years) you can see how primitive the outlook was, nothing more than a few hand drawn lines.
This year's severe weather has been largely confined to the southeastern U.S. where its been an active and deadly year. To date 27 tornado fatalities have been reported. Last year at this time there were only 3 and 10 for the entire year.
So far the yearly tornado total is again much lower than the long term average. The
preliminary inflation adjusted total of 214 in 2019 is running below the 50th percentile.
The next few days are expected to be more active, especially across the southern half of the nation. Here are the current outlooks for the next 3 days.
With regards to Wednesday's threat around my area I must say I'm unimpressed with the set-up as of Tuesday night. Upper air dynamics appear weak and instability on the meager side. A marginally strong storm or two is a possibility but aside from some spotty hail, I don't see much support for wind or tornadoes. It also looks like the energy may split over my area leaving some spots with little if any precipitation. We'll know much more Wednesday morning after the soundings and synoptic set-up becomes better defined.
You can see there is quite a bit of variance in rain totals, especially in the northern half of my area where the GFS is much more bullish than the NAM or 3k NAM.
Here's the GFS.
The 3k NAM
One positive is the fact we are in for one more mild day before a sharp cool-down on Thursday. The GFS has this for highs Wednesday.
The other shoe drops Thursday with highs a good 20 degrees colder with a brisk north wind.
That's the roller coaster we call spring. I'm ready for the sound of crickets and the hazy lazy days of summer. Hopefully their not too far away. Roll weather...TS