Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something Brewing In The Tropics?

Hurricane season officially starts June 1st and it already looks like we might have something brewing in the tropics. Latest data this morning shows something forming in the western Caribbean by the end of the upcoming workweek. Satellite imagery shows lots of thunderstorm activity in this area, but nothing too organized.

Regardless, wind shear will weaken in the tropics over the next few days, so this cluster could become better organized in the next few days. In fact, most of the global computer forecasts show an area of low pressure forming by the end of the upcoming workweek (indicated by the green circle in the western Caribbean).

Tropical systems typically form in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean early in June (see map below), so this is a plausible forecast. We will be watching this very closely over the next several days and will have more updates.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April 2011: A Historic Month For Tornadoes

This is not the type of record you want to break, but April of 2011 will probably end up with more tornadoes than any other month in modern day history. There were 871 tornado reports from last month! These are preliminary numbers, so more than likely the total will drop by one or two hundred.

Regardless, the previous record in April was 267 tornadoes which occurred in 1974. The highest number of of tornadoes for any month was May of 2003 (May is typically the most active month), where there were 558 tornado reports. So more than likely April 2011 will shatter all old tornado records.

Here is a map of all the reports:

The top five states were Alabama (144), Mississippi (115), North Carolina (86), Texas (64) and Tennessee (54). Virginia ended up with 35, which is an unusually high amount. You can find the entire list at the following link:

To put things into perspective, here is the map from May of 2003:

You can see that there significantly less tornadoes in the Mid-Atlantic, though it was a terrible month in the Midwest, especially around Kansas City and Springfield Missouri.