Jeff Masters on May’s Tornado Drought: More Evidence of Extremes
May 20, 2013
Despite last week’s lethal tornado in Texas, and the continued rash of storms today – the first part of May saw an unusually low number of tornadoes, – striking in contrast to 2 years ago, when in 2011 we saw an awesome eruption of tornado fury across the US. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground addresses the issue in the video above – both kinds of extremes are very low probability events. Coming in such close succession, they tend to reinforce the “weather whiplash” story that has characterized our “new normal”.
With just three tornadoes during the period May 1 – 7, 2013 has had the third-fewest U.S. tornadoes during the first week of May since record keeping began in 1950. The only year with fewer tornadoes during the first week of May were 1970 (zero) and 1952 (two.) During the ten year period 2003 – 2012, the U.S. averaged 73 tornadoes during the first week of May, with a high of 239 during May 1 – 7, 2003.
UPDATE: Then again, the tornado drought may be ending.
Breaking – CNN:
(CNN) — At least one person was killed and around a dozen injured Sunday when a string of tornadoes tore through four states, ripping roofs off homes, downing power lines and tossing trees like matchsticks
One tornado touched down near Wellston, Oklahoma, taking out power lines and damaging several homes, according to video from CNN affiliate KFOR. The affiliate’s helicopter pilot estimated the funnel cloud to be about a half-mile wide.
“It’s tearing up everything,” the pilot said. “Just ripping everything up in its sight.”