Tornado Season?

800px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007The 1925 Tri-State tornado accounted for 695 deaths in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

The highest recorded tornado wind speed was a 1999 Oklahoma storm that clocked 302 mph.

Oklahoma City has seen over 100 known tornado strikes.

Three out of every four tornadoes on Earth occur in the United States.

Currently in what is normally peak tornado season,  tornadothe United States is experiencing a year with an unusually low number of tornadoes. Greg Carbin, the man in charge at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) says it’s “likely the slowest start to tornado activity in any year in the modern record, and possibly nearly a century!”

The previous two years, 2012 and 2013, were both below average tornado years.


From what I gather, our low number of tornadoes is likely a result of the colder than normal winter some parts of the country is struggling to get out of.

201111072051z-ref-tiptonareaI’m not a meteorologist.  However, I can make a weather related forecast that I’m fairly confident of.

My forecast: If an extensive tornado outbreak occurs or if there are tornadoes that cause widespread significant damage, there will be attempts to connect them to climate change and/or global warming.

That seems  the pattern lately.  If there’s a weather related calamity, blame global warming.

The widest tornado in recorded history, the 2013 El Reno tornado, occurred over rural areas of central Oklahoma on May 31, 2013.  The tornado was measured by radar at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide.1452040_755669071126569_2030460835_n It’s size confused observers, its mammoth proportions containing orbiting subvortices larger than average tornadoes.  It was a worst case scenario for storm chaser teams – abrupt changes in direction, rapid forward acceleration from about 20 mph to as high as 55 mph. Several professional and amateur chasers were impacted.  Three died:  Tim Samaras, an autodidact engineer who founded a field research team called Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment (TWISTEX) which sought to better understand tornadoes, Paul Samaras, Tim’s son (photographer and videographer) and Carl Young (meteorologist).  The three were the first fatalities ever related to storm chaser activities.

Photo attribution:
800px-F5_tornado_Elie_Manitoba_2007 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license – Attribution: Justin1569 at en.wikipedia

tornado Mesocyclone tornado NOAA

201111072051z-ref-tiptonarea Radar Reflectivity of a tornado-producing supercell south of Tipton, OK November 2011; National Weather Service

1452040_755669071126569_2030460835_n Tim Samaras’ work was funded in large part by the National Geographic Society which awarded him 18 grants for his field work.

america, american history, climate, climate change, commentary, global warming, oklahoma, photography, video, weather

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cheerful Monk Apr 22, 2014

    Good luck on it being a somewhat quiet season. Just the idea of tornadoes scares me.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…ChangeMy Profile

    • Mike Apr 23, 2014

      We’ve been here 34 years and have never actually seen one, though we had one cause damage just a few miles away — and, before that, I lived in tornado country until age 15 before moving to southeast Texas, which sees tornadoes and hurricanes. Wildfire scares me more. We have a lot of fuel near us to feed one.
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  • Grannymar Apr 23, 2014

    I think, I’ll stick with dreary rain and dark days. No way do I fancy a tornado strike.
    Grannymar recently posted…My legs won’t work!My Profile

    • Mike Apr 23, 2014

      As much as one hears about tornadoes, they are actually a narrow weather phenomena. We had one cause damage just a couple of miles from us and the damage was hit and miss in over a path. I’ve lived all but about 10 years of my life in tornado country and I’ve never actually seen one.

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