Spring is here! (Though some of you may dispute that, depending on where you live). Few would complain about the fact that spring means longer days, more sunlight, and warmer weather, but spring also ushers in tornado season.
While tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, tornado season’s traditional period of peak activity is from March through early July. Each year, an average of 1,200 tornadoes touch down in the United States, and the vast majority form in the spring and early summer. Similarly, while tornadoes can touch down just about anywhere in North America, they are most likely to occur in the area known as “Tornado Alley,” which runs roughly from the Central Plains from Texas to Nebraska. Within that area, Texas has the highest number of tornadoes, with an average of 124 each year.
On average, tornadoes kill about 70 Americans each year, and injure another 1,500. By that measure, last year’s tornado season was average to somewhat mild, with 932 confirmed tornadoes and 69 fatalities, a sharp decrease from the previous year.
The opening months of 2013 have already brought us 123 confirmed tornadoes, including some big ones at the end of February and beginning of March. So far, most of those have been minor, with two fatalities.
In the 2013 Farmers’ Almanac, we predicted a very turbulent season for severe thunderstorms, which could mean a pretty active tornado season in the Midwest, primarily in May and June. Even so, tornado activity does not feature prominently in this year’s forecast.
We predicted one serious tornado threat to Indiana and Illinois in early June. As anyone living in “tornado alley” knows, though, any severe storm can mean a tornado will strike.