Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Real Tornado, Severe Weather Outbreak Of The Season This Week

Tis the season, unfortunately.  
A huge tornado roars through Xenia, Ohio
on April 4, 1974. It was part of what was
until 2011 the largest tornado outbreak in U.S.
history. Another tornado outbreak is
likely this week, the 40th anniversary
of this one, but luckily it won't be nearly as big.  

Tornado season.  Which looks like it might get underway in earnest this week.

In March and April, the nation's midsection is very often raked by a lot of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.

This year has so far been rather quiet tornado season, thanks to the very chilly March in much of the eastern two thirds of the nation.

(Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes need warm, humid air to form, something that was mostly lacking this March)

According to the the National Storm Prediction Center, there had been 46 tornadoes in the nation through March 26, compared to an average of about 130 by then.

It looks like we might catch up and get closer to the normal count by the end of the week.

There will probably be a few tornadoes in the Midwest today, especially around Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas, areas that generally are most likely to get tornadoes this time of year.

It doesn't look like there will be too many tornadoes today, but there will probably be a number of reports of big hail and strong winds.

The chances of tornadoes increases on Thursday and there could be quite a few of them, possibly a dozen or more. That's not the biggest outbreak you can get, but that's still cause for concern.

The most likely region for tornadoes Thursday is in the lower Mississippi Valley, from southern Illinois south.

Tomorrow's likely tornadoes come on the 40th anniversary of what was until recently the worst, biggest tornado outbreak in U.S. history.

On April 3-4, 1974, 148 tornadoes raked a big area of the country's midsection in less than 24 hours. 

What was scary about that storm is that 30 of the tornadoes were very strong, (EF4s and EF5s with winds of at least 166 mph.

The only tornado outbreak bigger and worse than the one in 1974 was on April 25-28, 2011, with 358 tornadoes, including 211 on just one day, April 27. The death toll was 348 in that one, compared to 330 in the 1974 outbreak.

Of course, with better radar and equipment, some tornadoes that wouldn't have been noticed in 1974 were caught in 2011.

In any event, this week's tornado outbreak doesn't look like it will be nearly as bad as 1974 or 2011, so we can take some comfort in that.

Still, let's hope all the tornadoes this week go through open country and not neighborhoods.  

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