While we did see scattered thunderstorms around the area Tuesday the main thrust of the severe weather was further south where it's been all spring. A moderate severe weather risk was issued by SPC for parts of Oklahoma and Texas. That's at least the 5th moderate risk day of 2020 which is a significant number through April. However, the real heart of the season lies ahead.
Many of the storms have been clustered over the southeast third of the nation.
That's due in large part to a couple key factors. One, there has been plenty of late season cold. These are the April temperature departures. Notice how the southern extent of the cold correlates with the location of the highest frequency of twisters.
Additionally, extremely warm sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico have contributed moisture and latent heat to the southeast which has yielded strong instability for storms to thrive in.
Notice with the arrival of spring warmth how April has seen an explosive increase in tornadoes.
According to the SPC going into Tuesday 341 tornadoes have been reported in April alone. In 2018 there had been only 130. So far 73 deaths have been reported with 40 of those in April. March was a bad month too with 25. This April there have been 14 killer tornadoes. The 3 year average is 4.
Here's the average number of tornadoes per year by state
Here's the annual number of deaths per year since 2005. The southeast has become the new tornado ally. A changing climate could be a contributor.
The peak of the severe weather season now is centered over Oklahoma.
Going forward the peak in the central Midwest occurs around the first week of June. However, anytime in May and June severe weather is common. For my money May 15th to June 15th is prime time for tornadoes in my local area. Rest assured our time is coming and I do think the season has the potential to be robust once the warmth and moisture makes a serious move north and enters the Midwest.
Thanks to a strong cold front we won't have to worry about severe weather in the heartland for at least several days. You'll know why when you step out Wednesday. Behind a strong cold front highs will hold in the 50s and strong W/NW winds up to 40 mph will create a noticeable wind chill. On top of that passing clouds and some scattered light showers will also act to diminish the overall quality of the day.
Conditions will improve dramatically Thursday with highs back in the 60s with less wind and some sunshine. Then it's Friday and I'm off to Maine. The beginning of a new chapter in my life. The call of the "wild". Roll weather...TS