Slow Start to Tornado Season

Spring is usually the height of severe weather season in the United States. This year, however, it has been slow going – at least so far.

According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, there have only been 20 tornadoes rated EF-1 or higher to date in 2014. On average, we usually see 157 storms by this point in the season. Of the twisters that did form, none were rated EF-3 or stronger. That is fairly weak by tornado standards, which are measured from EF-0 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale.

With colder than average temperatures dominating most of the country recently, storm development – which needs warm moist air and explosive convection – has been limited. That said, a slow start does not necessarily mean a slow season. It only takes one strong storm to devastate an area. Last year, for example, was a below average season, but it still produced an EF-5 that leveled Moore, OK.

May is typically the most active month of the year for tornadoes in the US.

Data Source: NOAA

Data Source: NOAA

This entry was posted in weather and tagged , , by Melissa Fleming. Bookmark the permalink.

About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.