Is A Big Tornado Season Around the Corner?
It’s been an unusually quiet severe weather year so far in 2015, with less than 30 twisters reported in the year’s opening two-and-a-half months, far below average, even for this early in the year. But the calm start to the severe weather season could soon be changing, according to one noted meteorologist.
According to Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell.com, a “furious 45 days” of severe weather, and specifically tornadoes, could be on tap from mid-April through May, Bastardi said on Saturday. Bastardi notes a similar set-up to the record-breaking 2011 severe weather season could be in the offing, when nearly 1,700 tornadoes were recorded over the course of the year, including the devastating April 25-28 outbreak that killed over 300 people and the EF-5 Joplin, Missouri tornado that killed over 150.
Bastardi notes two key reasons for his prediction, using long-range computer models: the potential development of a trough (an elongated area of lower pressure) in April in the center-west U.S., coupled with warm temperatures in the northern Gulf of Mexico, two ingredients that Bastardi said were roughly in place for the unusually active 2011 season.
The trough, which would draw in cooler air from Canada, would potentially clash with the warmer air over the northern Gulf of Mexico. Severe weather is particularly active during the mid-to-late spring months, when retreating cold air clashes with warm, moist air drawn north from the Gulf of Mexico, and additional clashes as a result of consistently juxtaposed, contrasting air masses could lead to additional bouts of severe weather.
It should be noted, however, that there are many factors in severe weather and tornado development, and this may not necessarily mean that an active severe weather and tornado season is a sure bet, even if those air masses are where Bastardi predicts them to be.
In the meantime, however, a major cool down across the eastern half of the country is expected to negate most severe weather chances over the next few weeks, and no severe weather outbreaks are anticipated over the next several days.
However, that could be changing. As Bastardi himself said, “I hope I’m wrong.”
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi