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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

1:20 PM | Nationwide chill this spring has had one positive effect - a very quiet tornado season so far

Paul Dorian


The numbers are still coming in and April still has another full day to go, but so far, this is turning out to be one of the coldest starts to spring in many years and the good news is that this nationwide chilly weather pattern has resulted in one of the quietest tornado seasons in many years. The cold has been so relentless across the Plains, South and East during the past couple of months that it has stopped in its tracks one necessary requirement for severe weather and that is the advance northward of very warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico. Indeed, yet another cold shot is headed to the Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest by mid-week with accumulating snow again in the offing for those locations, and it looks like there should be minimal tornado activity for the next several days across the nation.

In terms of tornado statistics, the month of March 2013 saw only 18 tornadoes on a nationwide basis according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center which was the lowest total in 35 years (1978). This low tornado total for March compares with 154 recorded last year and 75 in 2011. The contrast in April is even more impressive. April 2013 (so far) has only seen 74 tornadoes which is less than the 206 recorded last year and substantially lower than the 758 reported in April 2011. Best news of all, only one fatality so far during this year’s tornado season.

In terms of temperature statistics, the numbers are still being crunched and there is still a full day left in April, but this may turn out to be the coldest March and April combinations on a nationwide basis since the mid-90’s or perhaps even farther back than that.