In previous blog posts, the latest in February, I pointed out that since the waters of the Pacific ocean were much colder than normal that we would probably be facing a rather active severe weather season here in the ArkLaTex and around the country. I pointed out that the Pacific waters were at their coldest since 2011. That spring 35 tornado touchdowns were recorded in our area.
Since today marks the halfway point of this year’s spring tornado season, I figured I’d post an update on how many tornadoes we’ve experienced so far this spring and explain why the worst could be ahead of us.
The map above shows the tornadoes that have been confirmed by the Shreveport National Weather Service since the beginning of March. So far, there have been 19 tornado touchdowns in our area. If the last half of the tornado season is as active as the first, we could end up with 38 tornadoes. That’s pretty much in line but slightly higher than 2011.
It may come as a surprise that during the past decade, we have averaged a little over 13 tornado touchdowns in our area every spring (Mar-May). Consequently, if you compare the first half of this tornado season to what is normal for the past decade, we could go tornado-free for the next month and a half and still record about 50% more than the average for the past decade.
What is concerning is that we have yet to see as large of an outbreak as we witnessed back in 2011. That year we had far fewer days where tornadoes occurred. 26 of the 35 tornadoes came as a result of a rather large tornado outbreak in late April. Ironically, the graphic below from a Storm Prediction Center database shows that tornado frequency in our area tends to peak AT THE END OF APRIL.
What’s even more concerning is that the waters of the Pacific are still colder than they were back in 2011. When you consider that and the fact that the average peak of tornado season is a week or two away, it is quite possible that the worst of this spring’s tornado season is still ahead of us. As of this writing, models are indicating that we could see another strong disturbance move into the middle of the country by the end of next weekend or the beginning of the following week. Could this be the ‘big one’? Let’s all pray that it is not and that the worst of this year’s tornado season is behind us.