In 2018, the overall number of tornadoes across the country was down.
There were no EF-4’s and no EF-5’s reported at all in America. It is first since tornadoes were officially recorded in the 1950. Tornado deaths were also down.
Canada holds the spot for the strongest tornado last year, ranking an EF-4.
Last spring, there was a serious drought across Kansas. Arctic air kept plunging southward toward the Gulf Coast which robbed us from moisture-rich air. In the end, suppressing our severe weather chances.
Fast-forward to now. With the exception of abnormally dry conditions along the Kansas/Colorado state line and in Oklahoma, we’re doing well for precipitation.
This winter, Kansas has had a constant parade of fast-moving systems which have packed serious blasts of cold air. The frequency will persist.
The jet stream, the fast-movement of air aloft that steers storms, is positioned to the south of Kansas.
Within the next month, we are going to see an uptick in thunderstorm development that’s going to happen anywhere from northern Texas all the way through the Deep South including Mississippi and Alabama.
A weak El Nino has developed, which will keep us on the cooler side of things for much of March with severe storms south of our region.
As the tilt of the earth changes, the jet stream will shift to the north. Temperatures will naturally respond and warm.This will enhance our severe storm risk.
By mid-April, the skies above Kansas will see an uptick in thunderstorm development, some of which will be severe. The active pattern will continue through May and most of June.
While it may seem like a ways off, now is a great time to start discussing your severe weather safety plan with family. Practice it and prepare for a busy severe storm and tornado season.