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 trHUrrIXC5MMX:


A major storm is possible next week. Models call for snow all across the northeast?
Still skeptical.But that's another story.I think this spring is very similar to 2007.We had a cold March then and April was also below average for the most part.Now it seems this year will do a repeat.However by May we were above average again like I suspect this year.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
getting a little weird and strange today must be the lack of weather
People are strange when your a stranger
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9-acre king of all sinkholes threatens to swallow a whole neighborhood

Is it just me or are sinkholes becoming a thing of the norm
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Quoting washingtonian115:
This is what happens when you have one extreme to the next.Last March it was to hot to have any large tornado outbreaks.This year is to cold to have a huge outbreak.The reson why tornados are common in this month is because of the clah of warm/cold air masses.Something that we haven't seen in a while.


A major storm is possible next week. Models call for snow all across the northeast?
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
This is what happens when you have one extreme to the next.Last March it was to hot to have any large tornado outbreaks.This year is to cold to have a huge outbreak.The reson why tornados are common in this month is because of the clah of warm/cold air masses.Something that we haven't seen in a while.
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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
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307. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advisory
TROPICAL LOW 15U
2:48 AM WST March 22 2013
=========================================

At 2:00 AM WST, Tropical Low (1003 hPa) was located near 14.1S 95.3E or 270 km southwest of Cocos Island has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots. The low is reported as moving west at 5 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: T2.0/2.5/S0.0/12 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
======================
12 HRS: 14.5S 93.4E - 40 knots (CAT 1/Tropical Cyclone)
24 HRS: 15.3S 91.3E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
48 HRS: 19.1S 88.0E - 30 knots (Tropical Low)
72 HRS: 22.2S 88.8E - 25 knots (Tropical Low)

Additional Information
========================
The cloud pattern has been variable overnight with no consistency to banding and variable amounts of deep convection. The DT has weakened over the last 12 hours as the banding has become harder to define. Final intensity estimate is left at 30 knots though these winds do not wrap around the system.

Model guidance does not favour development. 15U may develop gales in southern quadrants during the next 18 hours. Conditions for development are moderately favorable until Friday night when shear will increase. It is possible that the system will manage to wrap gales around the centre in that time, but it is considered more likely that gales will be limited to the southern quadrants.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Jed, that video is ridiculous..



LOL well I gave enough warning I think. I was laughing really hard.
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Quoting Birthmark:

I welcome our alien reptilian underlings. Should save us a pile of work.



Agreed.
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Jed, that video is ridiculous..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13415
winter storm watches issued in Kansas for what could be Virgil
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Nice! (well, sort of...)

NASA just released the first images from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite, which was launched Feb. 11, and the very first image they're sharing is of Colorado (good choice, NASA!).

I had posted yesterday about the much-too-early-in-the-season Galena Fire outside of Fort Collins. The new Landsat images feature the brand new burn scar from the fire. The false-color image below uses the green band plus two infrared bands and clearly shows the scar in red:


(Click the image above to go to NASA's press release, where you can see a larger image and use a slider to compare the natural color vs false color versions)

And a couple more on-the-ground photos for context (both looking across Horsetooth Reservoir, which is the elongated water body just east of the fire scar and is noted on the Landsat image):



Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Quoting MississippiWx:


You have Firefox? That is what I use. Not sure what changed to cause it because I've used Firefox for years and never had that problem.


I have IE and have the same problem.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13250
Quoting WDEmobmet:


Having the same problem too, very annoying


You have Firefox? That is what I use. Not sure what changed to cause it because I've used Firefox for years and never had that problem.
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Quoting Jedkins01:
GUISE!!!! SERIUS BUSYYYNESSSSS11!!!1EVILDEATH666BATSMONSTERSGOSTS11 111







Lol I figured I'd share a little humor, I'm in a laughing mood.


Although I confess that I'm equally disturbed that whoever posted this might be serious, hopefully its a joke.

I welcome our alien reptilian underlings. Should save us a pile of work.
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Quoting barbamz:
(Source of the saved pic)

Blessed be the kind, helpful, responsible blogger.
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5557
When I turn a page, it goes to the bottom but when I refresh it stays where I am at on the page.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Random question. Does anyone have a problem with your browser going back to the middle of the comments section after you refresh your page or when you go through the comment pages? My browser used to go to the first comment when I would browse through the comment pages or when I would refresh it used to go to the very last comment. Just thought it was odd that it suddenly changed. Might be a problem with my browser.

It's not that big of a deal, just a nuisance.


Having the same problem too, very annoying
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Quoting Astrometeor:


Paradoxical is it not? I do know what I am saying, I think.

I believe in what the Bible teaches us and the lessons for humans inside of it. Also I look forward to heaven since currently I have yet to find a strong enough reason or explanation to what happens after death. Therefore, I would like to suppose that I am a Christian in how a real Christian should be modeled, using what the Bible teaches us and applying it to my daily life as best I can. Believing in god and Jesus Christ, in my opinion, is not how/what a Christian should act/do.

That is what I believe.

P.S. I have no idea how to express my beliefs, the above was my best shot at it.



I actually recently spoke with a student here on campus that had a similar take on life with a similar belief/philosophy...

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GUISE!!!! SERIUS BUSYYYNESSSSS11!!!1EVILDEATH666BATSMONSTERSGOSTS11 111







Lol I figured I'd share a little humor, I'm in a laughing mood.


Although I confess that I'm equally disturbed that whoever posted this might be serious, hopefully its a joke.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Random question. Does anyone have a problem with your browser going back to the middle of the comments section after you refresh your page or when you go through the comment pages? My browser used to go to the first comment when I would browse through the comment pages or when I would refresh it used to go to the very last comment. Just thought it was odd that it suddenly changed. Might be a problem with my browser.

It's not that big of a deal, just a nuisance.



mine stays at the bottom...rather than going to the top

chrome
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Raleigh NC 7-day................
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The Mid-March update of the ENSO Models continue to forecast Neutral conditions thru the Summer and fall.





Source
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13250
NAM snow W GA



1 inch max
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Random question. Does anyone have a problem with your browser going back to the middle of the comments section after you refresh your page or when you go through the comment pages? My browser used to go to the first comment when I would browse through the comment pages or when I would refresh it used to go to the very last comment. Just thought it was odd that it suddenly changed. Might be a problem with my browser.

It's not that big of a deal, just a nuisance.
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sunday.....whew...............
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Quoting AztecCe:

Lets hope so because I'm going camping spring break (next week) and I don't want it to be snowing!
Don't know where you are camping, but it won't be warming up much in NC until next weekend. I'd be heading South toward a beach.
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mon the snow comes pretty far south huh..........
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


looks as if an end to cooler weather is a little ways away just yet

Lets hope so because I'm going camping spring break (next week) and I don't want it to be snowing!
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It's snowing right here now in NE North Carolina. Jeez it was 65 two days ago!
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updated list from Dr. Greg Forbes

Friday, March 22

Isolated severe thunderstorms along and north of a warm/stationary front in northeast TX,
LA, south AR, central and south MS. TORCON - 3 east-central TX, central LA, southwest MS.

TOR:CON Details-

AR - 1
LA central - 3
LA north, south - 2 to 3
MS southwest - 3
MS southeast, central - 2 to 3
TX east-central - 3
TX northeast - 2 to 3
other areas - 1 or less
Saturday, March 23

Scattered severe thunderstorms and locally heavy rain along a stationary front in east TX, LA,
south half MS, south AL, extreme south GA, FL panhandle and north FL. The severe threat continues in these areas overnight
(except for TX) and spreads across the south third of GA.

TOR:CON Details-

AL south - 4
FL panhandle - 4
FL north - 3
GA south - 3; 4 night
LA southeast - 4
LA north, central - 3
MS south - 4
MS central 2
TX east - 3
other areas - 1 or less
Sunday, March 24

The round of overnight thunderstorms may push into or across south GA by morning, leaving
this area somewhat stabilized. Scattered severe thunderstorms in north and central FL as
far south as West Palm Beach and Naples. Isolated severe thunderstorms in the east FL
panhandle, south GA, southeast SC. TORCON - 2 to 3 these areas. A chance of an isolated
severe thunderstorm overnight in south FL. TORCON - less than 2.
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 13415


looks as if an end to cooler weather is a little ways away just yet
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
should be careful how we word things there are young minds among us this is not an adult only site


My apologies keep :P
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Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 21 March 2013
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 29.7 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 4 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 3

Temperature: 28.0°F
Dewpoint: 21.9°F
Humidity: 77 %
Wind: WSW 15 mph
Wind Chill: 17
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Quoting MrMixon:
Oh, for the love of... Somebody post a weather-related image and change the subject(s) before today's only active posters all get banned... :P

Here, I'll do it:



The break-up of ice off the north coast of Greenland continues at an unsettling pace today...



When and if the AO/NAO get closer to neutral, this will slow down. For now, cold air is spilling away from the Arctic regions and making it easier for the ice to crack/melt.
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nam shows light stors in N GA



expanding ehi





precip n ga



expands into precip in SC




Large area of 2000 capes in ga/SC
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Quoting AztecCe:

Anyone else lookin foward to hurricane season?


Nope.

Oh, shoot, it isn't April Fools is it?

Of course I am looking forward to the season.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 78 Comments: 8235
Quoting Gearsts:

Anyone else lookin foward to hurricane season?! YEEE HAW!
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Oh, for the love of... Somebody post a weather-related image and change the subject(s) before today's only active posters all get banned... :P

Here, I'll do it:


(Click image to embiggen and see the latest view).

The break-up of ice off the north coast of Greenland continues at an unsettling pace today...

Member Since: March 26, 2006 Posts: 44 Comments: 1520
Quoting wilsongti45:
Hot off the press from the CPC. Warmer spring for most of the country. Fingers crossed.

One Month



Three Month




It's been so chilly this year that I'd be happy with "normal".

Still, at least it has remained cold rather than seesawing. The flowers will be just as pretty a few weeks late!
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should be careful how we word things there are young minds among us this is not an adult only site
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Quoting WDEmobmet:


O come on, no back stabbing going on here. It was an out of context that I was making light of. I have several homosexual friends who would not blinked twice at that....

BTW your comment **************
Is another great out of context... Just saying :P


Holy moly. When did I switch over to the Playboy site? :-O
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Quoting Astrometeor:


*Takes a bow in front of the audience*



Indeed.


:-)
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Ladies and gentlemen,

The ultimate contradiction.


*Takes a bow in front of the audience*

Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
getting a little weird and strange today must be the lack of weather


Indeed.
Member Since: July 2, 2012 Posts: 78 Comments: 8235
Hi all. This may have been a slow month in the tornado department, but the hail has made up for it. Here's a pic of some of the hail that fell 40 miles to the east of here the other night.

http://interactives.kxan.com/photomojo/gallery/66 05/1/measuring-hail-in-central-texas/lexington/


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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
getting a little weird and strange today must be the lack of weather


I agree...

the newspaper publishers call this "The silly season"
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14869
Quoting Astrometeor:


First, I am a Christian.

My take on all of this is quite simple, religion was invented by humans to describe the world around them and explain why certain events happen. Basically an early science, albeit one that does not stand up to today's standards.

Now that we have a better understanding of what goes on, and have thus disproven the idea of gods multiple times through the laws of physics, some people just can't let go of religion, it is a good story and has lessons to be learned from it, it just isn't real.

But we really should get back to weather now, I am in disbelief on the topic of snow for my area Thursday night into Friday, some would say (or as I said on a friend's blog) that I am taking Washi's approach to this upcoming system.


Ladies and gentlemen,

The ultimate contradiction.
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About JeffMasters

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