Garrett’s Blog: Mid-March Tornado Chances

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The unusually cold winter and colder than normal start to the Spring season could lead to limited severe weather or at least a delayed severe weather season in our area. The classic spring severe weather setup usually requires warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico; cold fronts are still easily making it deep into the Gulf of Mexico which is unusual for mid to late March.

The image above shows the significant tornado chances for March, 19th. Notice that the greatest chance is in the SE United States, in an area commonly refered to as “Dixie Alley”. You would expect this area to migrate to the north with time and eventually be in our area in April and May.

In fact, if you look at the severe probabilities month-by-month in our area, the peak is April 24th. Severe weather usually rapidly declines in the month of June.

March 5th – June 24th is our “Severe Weather Season”.

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When looking at other months of the year, you’ll see that severe weather is common virtually anytime but the peak is clearly in the late Spring months.

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The greatest number of tornadoes actually occurs in the month of May.

It’s still too early to determine the overall global pattern will be as we enter April and May, but it appears that March will offer lower than normal severe weather chances as we start the spring season. If cool temperatures continue, that trend may continue into May.

One thing to note; when moisture & warmth are lacking in our area, the storms tend to be more organized into a line instead of individual supercells. With the jet stream’s position so far south, this could be an indication that we’re in for a lot of straight line winds and squall lines with embedded rotation instead of the typical isolated storms.

-Garrett

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