RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Tornadoes have plagued the Deep South so far this Spring severe weather season as more than 200 tornadoes have touched down across the country as of March 31, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
April and May are the climatological peak of tornado activity across the country, and we could be in for a long stretch of active weather to get to Summer.
La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean are a key reason as to why an active tornado season is expected.
La Niña keeps an energized jet stream available for storm development.
With no signs of La Niña weakening until Summer, Spring could be active for thunderstorms.
The Gulf of Mexico is also very warm, which provides humid air across the Deep South for tornado development.
Temperatures in parts of the Central and Eastern Gulf are in the low 80s, and a strong southerly wind can bring that warm and humid air onshore to allow for storm development.
It takes more than a La Niña year and a warm Gulf to get a tornado to form. All the key severe weather ingredients need to come together in just the right way to get a tornado, but it appears this Spring will have a higher-than-normal chance.
Forecasters expect we could see up to 1500 tornadoes through May, which would be about 120 above our normal amount.