The storms that our area has seen during the past couple of weeksmay not seem that surprising for many since it's common to have bad storms and tornados in March. Ahat isn't very common however is the high number that we've already seen this year compared to last.
As of April 6, there were 374 tornado reports for the year. This is a sharp increase from the 98 tornadoes reported at this time last year. That number doesn't include the 52 tornadoes we saw across the country on Friday or the 4 on Saturday. This brings the running total up to 430 tornadoes reported so far this year.
"We had a mild winter. Relatively speaking, the Gulf of Mexico is a little bit warmer than normal for this time of year", says Western Kentucky University's Geology & Geography Department Professor, Dr. Michael Trapasso.
Those warm temperatures and dry conditions kept water temperatures warm in the Gulf of Mexico, so as weather systems move eastward into the central United States and combine with the warm moist air moving north from the Gulf, it creates the thunderstorms and tornadoes we are seeing. This is the reason we've seen such a high number of storms already this year. Typically tornado season is known to be from April to June.
"Considering the fact that we have already exceeded what we should have for this time of year in tornado numbers and deaths, put that together and it gives us a dark number forecast for the next few months", says Trapasso.
Although it is impossible to predict just how many more tornadoes we will see, if the trend continues it will be alot more than we saw last year. Either way, you should be ready for the storms that have already been making their mark on nearby areas during the past few weeks.
"Just think about if you had to take shelfter with your family for an hour or two where would you go and what would you have with you. If people think along those lines they can be as prepared as they can be for this kind of situation", says Trapasso.
In case of severe weather or a tornado, you should come up with a disaster plan ahead of time to help keep you safe. This includes creating a plan with your family on where to go and what to do and having a disaster kit available with food, water, emergency tools, clothing, and a first aid kid just in case its needed.