Spring arrives this week, at least according to astronomy, if not meteorology. While springtime means longer days, more sunlight, and warmer weather, the season also means the height of 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 through 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 somewhat mild, with 811 confirmed tornadoes in the U.S. and 55 fatalities, a slight decrease from the previous year.
The opening months of 2014 have brought 46 confirmed tornadoes in the U.S. So far, all of those have been minor – E2 and lower – with no reported fatalities.
In the 2014 Farmers’ Almanac, we predicted that “tornado alley,” in the nation’s midsection, would see an active year, with a dangerous flare-up in April and again in June.
In particular, watch for a strong tornado threat tornado Central and Southern Texas, as well as Louisiana, in the opening days of April. Ongoing stormy weather throughout the month will mean continued risk.
Another heavy storm system could bring tornado activity in the opening week of May, as could a few locally strong thunderstorms in Oklahoma and Texas at the end of the month.
June will bring even more thunderstorms with the potential for tornadoes, particularly near the official start of summer on the 21st.
For a more detailed look at what’s in store for you region, visit our long range forecast.