Winter Chill Limits Tornado Outbreaks

Winter Chill Limits Tornado Outbreaks (Image 1)

Two years ago, tornado outbreaks were all over the news.  The April 25-28 outbreak was the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded.  It left catastrophic destruction in its wake, especially across the state of Alabama.

But so far this year, it has been unusually quiet. 

The tornado count through May 6th is only 236.  Last year, this number was 658.  The 8-year average is 620.

Experts say a cool weather pattern from the Rockies to the East Coast has helped to keep a lid on the number of tornadoes for 2013.  Basically, winter has been slow to go.

Generally, you need warmer weather to trigger thunderstorms.

The cooler air that has been in place forces the base of the clouds from the thunderstorms to be higher off the ground.  This limits the number of tornadoes from forming, and it limits damaging wind gusts.  Instead, this setup can still produce a number of storms with hail.

The big question now is…will this trend continue?

Well, summer is almost here.  So it is inevitable that warmer weather will lead to more thunderstorms.  But since there is such a slow start to the tornado season, 2013 will likely stay well behind the curve for violent weather. 



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