An unusually quiet March for tornadoes--only 6 so far

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:37 AM GMT on March 21, 2013

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After an unusually active January for tornadoes, with approximately double the activity of a typical January, tornado activity dropped to near-normal levels in February, and virtually flat-lined during March. The five confirmed tornadoes in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama on Monday, March 18 brought the March 2013 tornado tally to just six. Monday's severe weather outbreak in the south brought hail up to the size of softballs to Jackson, MS, and damage from the hailstorm is estimated in the tens of millions.

Since 2000, the U.S. has averaged 89 tornadoes each March, so we have a long way to go to reach average. The 154 tornadoes last year in March 2012 was the fourth highest March total since records began in 1950 (record: 170 in March 2007.) Records for most and least tornadoes in a month have been set 24 times over the past 60 years. Ten of those records have been set in the past decade--six for the fewest tornadoes, and four for the most, said tornado researcher Harold Brooks last week. In addition, the three earliest starts of tornado season and the four latest have all occurred since 1997, and "We've had a dramatic increase in the variability of tornado occurrence," Brooks said. The jet stream, which plays a key role in tornado formation, has been wildly variable in recent years, leading to the large swings in tornado activity.


Figure 1. The EF-2 tornado with 120 mph winds that hit Meriwether and Pike County, Georgia on Monday, March 18, 2013 was one of just six March tornadoes in 2013. The cell labeled "3" spawned the tornado. Two other supercells are also labeled (cell #1 brought hail to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.) Thanks go to Stu Ostro of TWC for providing the image.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is highlighting only a small "Slight Risk" area for severe weather on Thursday over Northern Texas, and another "Slight RIsk" area on Saturday over the Southeast U.S. The winter-like jet stream pattern we are in is likely to be dominant for at least the next week, and perhaps into April. So, March 2013 has a shot at making the top-five list for the quietest March months on record for tornado activity. Years with fewest March tornadoes since 1950:

1) 1951: 6
2) 1969: 8
3) 1966: 12
4) 1958: 15
5) 1978: 17


Forecasting the End
We're safely past the December 21, 2012 date of the predicted Mayan Apocalypse, so its permissible to engage in a bit of "what if" speculation on how civilization on Earth might ultimately meet its doom. That's the premise of The Weather Channel's "Forecasting the End" series, which begins airing Thursday March 21 at 9 pm EDT. I'll be making appearances in six of the episodes, set to air each Thursday through mid-April. You might hear me say the phrase, "It would be a bad day on planet Earth" more than once during the shows, as the type of events being considered--an asteroid strike, super volcano eruption, gamma ray burst, encounter with a rogue planet, and massive methane expulsion event--would all do very bad things to earth's climate, making human life on Earth a tenuous proposition. The spectacular graphics should make for an enjoyable show.

New Wettest Place on Earth Discovered?
After successfully helping cast down one iconic world record--the bogus 136°F measured at El Azizia, Libya in 1922--wunderground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, and weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera are at it again. Mr. Burt documents in his latest blog post a challenge to the world's rainiest location, which is officially Mawsynram, Meghalaya State, India, with an annual average precipitation of 11,872 mm (467.40”). It turns out that Puerto Lopez, Colombia may be even wetter.

I'll have a new post on Friday.

Jeff Masters

Sample of hail (sirenscall)
3/18/13
Sample of hail

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Quoting MrNatural:

Here is a news story on the subject from the Corpus Christi Caller Times. Windstorm association may be headed for receivership; some question timing, tactics

Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 6158
some fun this Saturday...good thing I'll be home all day to check some of you track these (if any)



some weird note: Houston, New Orleans, Panama City and Jacksonville lie almost at the same latitude
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Evening all... just when I thought it was going to warm up, here comes another front... lol...

Today still managed to get quite warm, despite the general cloudiness. I'm starting to wonder when we'll stop seeing the weekly or bi-weekly easterly passage of cold fronts and begin the tropical wave season. Any signs of an AEW or a tropical wave in the ATL so far?

[I do know the normal start date is around 3 weeks away.... but still.... :o) ]
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Quoting aspectre:
402 AussieStorm: Is that due to the snow melt?

Combination of cold weather keeping the snowpack from partially&slowly melting during the latter half of March and the heavy rainfall predicted for early April that'll cause very rapid melting.

Will that end up flowing down the mighty Mississippi river?
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Oh My Gosh. I just heard on the radio news that the Tornado in Southern NSW/Northern Victoria be called a "mini-Tornado". This is not damage from a "mini-Tornado".


The storm ripped through Denison County Caravan Park in Mulwala. Pic: madbart66 / Twitter


A petrol station damaged in Euroa during the wild weather.


Damage from the tornado and storm in Rutherglen. Picture: Simon Dallinger


Damage in Rutherglen. Picture: Simon Dallinger


A tornado near Lake Mulwala. Picture: Louise Lynch


Tornadoes left a trail of destruction in Victoria's northeast. Picture: Dave Jones / Twitter
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Freeze warning from Georgia through SC and past Wilmington, NC

Mid 20s to low 30s
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Happy to see all of you today.have a great day right now is a little bit hot in my place but I can`t complaint.
ps having my first dog ever and I am already tired.
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Quoting aspectre:
402 AussieStorm: Is that due to the snow melt?

Combination of cold weather keeping the snowpack from partially&slowly melting during the latter half of March and the heavy rainfall predicted for early April that'll cause very rapid melting.


people better prepare their house (sandbags) or evacuate if needed
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
402 AussieStorm: Is that due to the snow melt?

Combination of cold weather keeping the snowpack from partially&slowly melting during the latter half of March and the heavy rainfall predicted for early April that'll cause very rapid melting.
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And yes, Texas politics, may have a surprise for you if you live anywhere near the Texas coast. It seems, the insurer of last resort, TWIA (Texas Windstorm Insurance Association)may consider financial receivership. Kinda like bankruptcy. This is the insurer that people turn to when private insurance does not compete for your business. Not only would it impact this upcoming tropical season if not resolved, but many claims from "Ike" from 2009 could be jeopardized. Let's hope that it never gets to this.
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Quoting aspectre:
"National Weather Service told...the Fargo area...to prepare for one of the Red River's five largest crests"

"The latest...flood outlook for Fargo[NorthDakota] and...Moorhead[Minnesota] includes a 50 percent chance that the river would top 38 feet later this spring, which would surpass the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969. There's a 10 percent chance of an all-time record."


Crazy. That photo reminds me of the phrase "can't see the forest for the trees" in that I "can't see the river for the water".
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Quoting aspectre:
"National Weather Service told...the Fargo area...to prepare for one of the Red River's five largest crests"

"The latest...flood outlook for Fargo [NorthDakota] and Moorhead [Minnesota] includes a 50 percent chance that the river would top 38 feet later this spring, which would surpass the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969. There's a 10 percent chance of an all-time record."

Morning all.

Is that due to the snow melt?
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"National Weather Service told...the Fargo area...to prepare for one of the Red River's five largest crests"

"The...flood outlook for Fargo [NorthDakota] and...Moorhead [Minnesota] includes a 50 percent chance that the river would top 38 feet later this spring, which would surpass the fifth-highest crest of 37.34 feet in 1969. There's a 10 percent chance of an all-time record."
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


MA, more snow for you area..

How much you got for Ukko?

Was that the last storm? Or is that tonight's storm? Last storm was about 5", tonight maybe an inch.
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big 952mb far northeast of Japan

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting MAweatherboy1:
Sunspot 1692 has been growing active today as it rotates away from the Earth-facing side of the Sun. It just produced its first M class solar flare, and could produce stronger flares in the days ahead if this trend is an indication. We'll have no real way of knowing, however, since the spot is almost out of view of Earth.



It's the area all the way to the right, we can only see about half of it:





MA, more snow for you area..

How much you got for Ukko?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Sunspot 1692 has been growing active today as it rotates away from the Earth-facing side of the Sun. It just produced its first M class solar flare, and could produce stronger flares in the days ahead if this trend is an indication. We'll have no real way of knowing, however, since the spot is almost out of view of Earth.



It's the area all the way to the right, we can only see about half of it:



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Quoting RTSplayer:


I mean "planned" in the sense that it's an obvious natural consequence.

Regarding those other mines, just give it some time. It may not happen this decade, but one day they'll pay the piper too.


I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean all mines eventually collapse? That's simply not true, at least not on human time-scales.

Certainly all mines have an environmental impact - sometimes quite severe (I happen to earn my keep quantifying the environmental impacts of mines and other industrial facilities). But collapse is not inevitable if a mine is properly designed. Indeed, there are mines in Swaziland and Bulgaria that are over 40,000 years old.

Surely if Neanderthals can build a mine that won't collapse in the span of 1,500 human generations then a modern engineer who's worth his salt (pun definitely intended) should be able to do the same.
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
The new 6-10 day outlook is out. I had to check the date to make sure it was from today because it looks just like the last several ones.


Also the one month and the three month outlooks were released today.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7972
WARM spring??!...but whenever it gets here

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Quoting yonzabam:
Hamster Found During Blizzard on Edinburgh Street


You made me say "Awwww" outloud at work. :)
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Click here to see a video about a resident describing a hail storm

Thought some people may need a little laugh
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For West Palm Beach...

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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Hi MMX. Can you post the graphic of the 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season numbers to see how it has grown since yesterday?


Im not sure to post it here... maybe later

go to my blog, I uploaded it earlier today with the latest add ins... check the comments below #31...

still looking for more people, now 39 joined
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
nam-hires namer
20130321 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity
hr 60
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nam-hires namer
20130321 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity
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Quoting MrMixon:


There's an awful lot of speculation being presented as incontrovertible fact in the bolded paragraph above.

Yes, someone along the line should've anticipated this... but why do you say it was planned?

It's quite possible to mine salt without causing a sinkhole - happens all the time.



In the case of the Louisiana sinkhole, somebody flubbed up estimating the competency of the overburden. It's hard to say for sure who made the miscalculation, but I hardly think there's information to support it being "planned" and it's certainly unfair to blame everyone who might've used the salt (as you do in #329).


I mean "planned" in the sense that it's an obvious natural consequence.

Regarding those other mines, just give it some time. It may not happen this decade, but one day they'll pay the piper too.
Member Since: January 25, 2012 Posts: 33 Comments: 1520
Quoting Grothar:


Just tell him we aren't all as strange as we appear on the blog.


I thought that you were going, Grothar, but I have heard that you lost track of the time. Well, I think they found that watch that you dropped - Ancient Egyptian Sundial Discovered at Valley of the Kings

I wish they could find mine now. I doubt they will have as much luck doing so. I made mine out of wood so it would be easier to set for day light savings time.
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nam-hires namer
20130321 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity
hr 54
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Quoting sonofagunn:


Good job by the boat owner.


My fishing bud and a Judge; we gotta play by rules cause it's small town....which changed this year so we can each keep 2 in slot this season....Totally stoked right now and buying new lures and line as the water temps are rapidly warming up. Gonna be a great April and May me thinks this year.
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nam-hires namer
20130321 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity
hr 51
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nam-hires namer
20130321 18 UTC
sim_reflectivity
hr 45
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Southeastern New England snow tonight... (improving my map)

click for larger size




Hi MMX. Can you post the graphic of the 2013 North Atlantic Hurricane Season numbers to see how it has grown since yesterday?
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14916
380. Skyepony (Mod)
The LA salt dome/corporate storage troubles keep getting deeper. The Assumption Salt dome failure (this was the one Ike spent a day centered on)..is still ongoing with buy out talks beginning for the evacuees..these people have been out of their homes more than 6 months..

Now new & this one is about 50 miles away..Sheriff Ackal says Lake Peigneur Could be Worse than Assumption Sinkhole.
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Quoting NJWXMAN:
We're now 21 days into March 2013...and in NJ we've seen 5 days with snow showers or flurries, 2 days with highs in the 30s, and 0 days above 60! If I see an entry that March was the ___ warmest March in history Im going to flip how about it being the __ coldest March in history


https://sites.google.com/site/pettitclimategraphs /u-s-temperatures

Roughly 5x as many hot records compared to cold records broken across the U.S. so far this March. Data tells the story better than an anecdote or how it feels outside.
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Hamster Found During Blizzard on Edinburgh Street

A hamster has been rescued after being found wandering on an Edinburgh street during a blizzard.

The female Syrian hamster was spotted by a member of the public on Spey Street, just off Pilrig Street, on Monday evening.

Now named Poppy, the rodent is being cared for at the Scottish SPCA's Edinburgh and Lothians animal rescue and rehoming centre.

It is hoped the one-year-old's owner comes forward.

Duncan Robertson, of the Scottish SPCA, said: "Poppy is around a year old and in good condition.

"It's very lucky she was found by someone who helped her as there was a severe blizzard on Monday evening and it was bitterly cold.

"Poppy was found in Leith, which is a built up area with lots of flats nearby. Hamsters are fast creatures and can wriggle through small spaces so there is a chance she has escaped from home."

Mr Robertson said they were keeping an open mind but could not rule out the possibility she may have been abandoned by her owner.

"Poppy could have easily come to harm so we're really glad she's now safe," he added.

"We're keen to hear from anyone who recognises Poppy and, in the meantime, we'll ensure she receives the care she needs.

"If no-one comes forward, we'll be looking to find Poppy a loving new home."
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Southeastern New England snow tonight... (improving my map)

click for larger size


Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Two inches over (with a 27" slot limit in North Florida); owner of the boat on that day took the picture and made me throw it back......Almost killed him as the fish swam away.......... :)


Good job by the boat owner.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
Is the negative PDO losing it's grip a little bit? The warming east of Japan has extended more eastward than what it was in past months.

looks temporary, the west central pacific is cooling off while the east pacific has slightly warmed all the models showed us warming a bit then we cool off again
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374. VR46L
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Thanks for the site link......I just went in and like this particular page with the current global still snapshot.

Link

Lots of activity along the ITCZ on the equator off of Africa and in the extreme E-Pac but otherwise bone dry in the E-Pac and North Atlantic. Many months still left till E-Pact Season on May 15th and the N-Atlantic Season on June 1st.........It could dry out between now and then.......Who knows but a nice resource site.

Thanks.


Your welcome !! I have completely become besotted (sad I know) with it . It will be useful for tracking Tropical storms and Hurricanes when they change to Extrop storms only wish I found it years ago
Member Since: March 1, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 6998
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
Very nice Redfish... Was it in the slot?


Two inches over (with a 27" slot limit in North Florida); owner of the boat on that day took the picture and made me throw it back......Almost killed him as the fish swam away.......... :)
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Quoting RTSplayer:


You're right, but it's worse than that.

Salt dissolves obviously. Add a little water and it just gets worse and worse.

This is all basic knowledge though, but when a disaster happens, we gotta blame somebody, right?

I wouldn't even call this an "accident," because it was part of the plan the whole time. Anybody who knew the facts of the location would have known this was going to happen, before they even started working there, and that includes the Government and all the geologists. It's not the company's fault any more than it is the government's fault and the local geologists fault.

Dig a big enough hole in any pile of dirt and it will cave in, but this is salt. It's a joke.


There's an awful lot of speculation being presented as incontrovertible fact in the bolded paragraph above.

Yes, someone along the line should've anticipated this... but why do you say it was planned?

It's quite possible to mine salt without causing a sinkhole - happens all the time.



In the case of the Louisiana sinkhole, somebody flubbed up estimating the competency of the overburden. It's hard to say for sure who made the miscalculation, but I hardly think there's information to support it being "planned" and it's certainly unfair to blame everyone who might've used the salt (as you do in #329).
Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
really odd banding here

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting weathermanwannabe:


Thanks for the site link......I just went in and like this particular page with the current global still snapshot.

Link

Lots of activity along the ITCZ on the equator off of Africa and in the extreme E-Pac but otherwise bone dry in the E-Pac and North Atlantic. Many months still left till E-Pact Season on May 15th and the N-Atlantic Season on June 1st.........It could dry out between now and then.......Who knows but a nice resource site.

Thanks.
Very nice Redfish... Was it in the slot?
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
Quoting VR46L:
This is fast becoming one of my favourite Sat Loops (does take a min to load)

North Atlantic and Western Europe Loop


Thanks for the site link......I just went in and like this particular page with the current global still snapshot.

Link

Lots of activity along the ITCZ on the equator off of Africa and in the extreme E-Pac but otherwise bone dry in the E-Pac and North Atlantic. Many months still left till E-Pact Season on May 15th and the N-Atlantic Season on June 1st.........It could dry out between now and then.......Who knows but a nice resource site.

Thanks.
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Largo.....Watching WPTV here in West Palm Beach, I see I-75 is still shut down... What a mess I'm sure
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 6000
18z NAM run snow totals for Monday's possible storm:
Link

12z GFS run:
Link

Is it just me or has it been taking longer and longer for GFS updates to come out?
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Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 42267
Current global SST. The Equatorial Pacific seems to have some warmer water moving North but it still seems a little too chilly for anything to pop up in the Atlantic.

http://www.oceanweather.com/data/
Member Since: June 9, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 866
Is the negative PDO losing it's grip a little bit? The warming east of Japan has extended more eastward than what it was in past months.

Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14916
Best forecast I've heard in a while for my area. Then again, the EML can still be the great buzzkill if it shows up too strong. From HGX:

ENERGY CARVING OUT A GREAT BASIN SHORTWAVE TROUGH...THIS FEATURE
TO DEEPEN INTO A SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH 5H OPEN WAVE TROUGH AS IT
COMES OUT OF THE ROCKIES SATURDAY. AN ACTIVE LONGITUDINAL SOUTHERN
JET BRANCH OVER NORTHERN TEXAS...COUPLED WITH A NW-TO-SE ORIENTED
JET STREAK MOVING OUT OF THE CENTRAL ROCKIES...MAY PROVIDE ENOUGH
UPPER LEVEL SUPPORT (COORDINATING RR AND LF QUADS) OVER NORTH
CENTRAL TEXAS TO GENERATE DECENT NORTHERN FORECAST CONVECTION.
COMBINE THIS ENERGY WITH FAIRLY SATURATE LOWER LEVELS (UNSEASONABLY
HIGH 1.25-1.30 INCH PWAT RANGE)...WITH DECENT MID-LEVEL LAPSE
RATES...THE POTENTIAL FOR ACTIVE SATURDAY WEATHER IS ALIVE. OF
COURSE...THE NEAR 8H WARM NOSE WILL BE THE DECIDER.
AS OF NOW...
MODEL SOUNDINGS DEPICT NEAR 1K CAPE AND A NEAR 70 F CAP-BREAKER
SURFACE TEMPERATURE. ONGOING FORECAST CALLS FOR DOWNSTREAM AFTERNOON
TEMPERATURES TO REACH THE LOWER 80S SO WE`LL SEE IF THAT IS ENOUGH
TO INITIATE MORE ACTIVE THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11709

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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