Busy tornado season no mystery

Posted by NBC12 Meteorologist Jim Duncan

The way our world seems to work these days is that whenever anything seems out of the ordinary, we must seek out the reason why.  The weather is a frequent target for such inquiries, chiefly because it’s rarely normal and thus the subject of special intrigue.  This year’s tornado season has been one of the busiest in years, making news headlines seemingly every couple of days.   The reason it’s been so active is simple.  The strong “la nina” driven wind patterns aloft from this past winter have trickled forward into spring.   The result has been an unusually strong northern jet stream that’s kept very cool air spilling southward, which then meets up with warmer southern air, ultimately leading to frequent atmospheric “collision-zones”.  We’ve seen this happen a lot this year,  but it’s no mystery, just a consequence of naturally occurring weather cycles.


3 Responses to Busy tornado season no mystery

  1. Philip says:

    We had severe and intense winds Saturday between 5pm and 9pm. A lot of trees uprooted, twisted off or snapped half way up the trunk. Was this a tornado or straight line winds ? We are located two miles from Little Plymouth,Va. on the Mattaponi River. The damage of trees is extensive along the river.

  2. walt says:

    I just did your weather map survey and my only complaint was it needed a longer loop. I did not realize that as one zooms out the loop becomes longer.

  3. bobby_r says:

    Jim, thanks for pointing out that the reason for the larger outbreak of tornadoes is something that is nothing more than a normal weather cycle. Much of the reason for people not understanding this fact has to do with the way the news media reports the news. This year there is alot of cold air plunging from the north colliding with the warm air moving from the south. Where there is the collision of the air masses is where the you are most likely to see tornado activity. The last few years there was not the large contrast between air masses so there were far fewer tornadoes. The news media portrays this year’s tornado season as being one of the deadliest. It’s sad that there have been so many deaths this year but when compared to death statistics from previous stand alone tornado events this year’s death toll does not rank in the top ten deadliest stand alone tornado events. You must put the number of deaths in proper prospective. It’s interesting to note that the total number of deaths this year does not hold a candle to any of the top 10 deadliest stand alone tornado events. i.e., Tornado out break on March 18, 1925 produced 695 deaths. Tornado outbreak on May 6, 1840 produced 317 deaths. The lowest number of deaths in the top 10 stand alone deadliest tornado events was in May 1953 with 114 deaths and another 114 deaths from a tornado in June 1953. Those two storms alone in 1953 resulted in 228 deaths. The news media fails to tell you the complete story about tornadoes and the number of deaths as compared with the reality of past history. This year’s number of deaths is sad but small potatoes compared single event tornadoes of past history. Per usual you can’t trust what you hear from the news media; We are seldom given the complete facts.

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