Large, violent tornadoes pounded the plains this weekend, and the threat likely isn't over.
May might have started out slow, but tornado season is now in high gear. A major outbreak over the weekend left dozens homeless and killed at least one person.
Hardest hit was Shawnee, Okla., where a large, violent tornado struck a mobile home park leaving nothing standing. Here is video from our ABC affiliate of the damage. That twister, among several others, was caught on tape by stormchasers.
The severe weather had been advertised for days. All of the elements came together like a textbook example of how warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets up with cooler, drier air from the north. Strong winds turn with height in the atmosphere and the winds also increase in speed with height.
This helps provide the support needed for major tornadoes of EF3 or more.
- Severe Weather Elements, Accuweather
The Shawnee tornado is yet to be rated on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, but the National Weather Service is on the scene Monday to do a survey. In all, there were around 50 preliminary reports of tornadoes this weekend and many, many more reports of wind damage and hail stretching from Oklahoma to Minnesota. Here are the storm reports from just Sunday:
- Storm Reports Sunday, May 19, 2013
Unfortunately, more tornadoes are expected this afternoon and evening. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a "Moderate Risk" for tornadoes in some of the same areas of Oklahoma. A slight risk stretches into the Great Lakes.
- Severe Weather Outlook Monday
Despite the large number of tornadoes this weekend, we are still far below the seasonal averages. May is usually the month with the highest count of tornadoes in the United States. Check out this graphic from the Storm Prediction Center. Also, notice the high count in 2011.
- Preliminary 2013 Tornado Count
As for us in D.C. Maryland, and Virginia, we tend to see more frequent violent weather in July and August, but tornadoes can and do happen in May and June. Remember, it's not the number of tornadoes that develop, it's the potential of just one of them impacting you.