From the ABC 7 Weather team

Archive for category Natural disasters March 2015

Unprecedented Quiet Start to Tornado Season

March 24, 2015 - 05:40 AM
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Zero. None. Nada.  That's how many tornadoes have been recorded in the United States so far this March.

Preliminary Tornado Count 2015

March tends to be a busy time for severe weather forecasters, but so far not only have there been no tornadoes this month, there hasn't even been a watch issued.  According to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Greg Carbin at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK where watches are issued, it is unprecedented.

Source: Storm Prediction Center

Carbin says this has never happened since the Storm Prediction Center has been keeping records dating back to 1970.  Typically there will have been dozens by this time of the year.  On average, 130 tornadoes are recorded from January through mid to late March. This year there are 28 preliminary reports from January and February combined. That's 10 percent of average.

U.S. Tornado Trends

Most severe weather this time of the year happens in the south. But, tornadoes can and have occurred in any month of the year in Virginia and Maryland. 

March Severe Weather Probabilities

Why has there been such a lack of tornadoes?  You can thank the chilly temperatures in the east for one thing.  We've had a persistent pattern that has not allowed much moisture, heat or instability from the south to clash with cooler arctic air from the north. 

On average Virginia will see 18 tornadoes a year and Maryland will experience 10.  Most of those tornadoes occur between April and September. 

Tornado Climatology by State

Will the quiet start to the season continue?  Perhaps for at least the short term. cooler than average temperatures are expected to continue in the east into early April. However, weather patterns can change quickly. April and May are typically the busiest months of the year for tornadoes. Just because it's quiet now, doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a correlation of low tornado counts through the end of June.  In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk of severe storms for both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Severe Weather Outlook Tuesday

While we're not expecting any severe storms in the D.C. region this week, we could hear a few rumbles of thunder on Thursday and there could be some gusty winds with those storms. 

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