Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Severe Weather and El Nino

So, I have been trying to find a correlation between El Nino and the upcoming severe weather season for the past few days. At first glance, I was a little concerened. I looked at the handwritten Obs logs that were taken here at KAIT from Terry Wood back in 1998. That was a Spring coming out of an El Nino winter (like we have now). The Spring of 1998 was a VERY BUSY severe weather season. Look at the logs from March, April, and May. Click the images to enlarge:

As you can see, this was the year of the fatal overnight tornado in Manila. If you notice, Terry noted several rounds of storms including a day in May where he said, "tornadoes were everywhere!"

So does that mean we are going to have an active severe weather season? At first, I thought so, but NOT SO FAST. We can also look at the Spring of 1987 which was coming off of an El Nino winter and look at how quiet it was:

So, can we derive any forecast from El Nino? I'm not completely sure, BUT the winter season was a little like 1998 across the US. I'm not completely sold on a correlation, especially after reading this research from a well respected meteorologist, Joe Schaefer: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/schaefer/el_nino.htm

Here's the deal. We have had a couple of years without major severe weather. In fact, if you take out the major EF4 that tracked 123 miles across the state, the weather in Region 8 has been rather calm, tornadowise since the Marmaduke/Caruthersville tornado. Law of averages is going to win out... it usually does!

So, let's all get prepared NOW. Have a plan.... Get a weather radio.... Know what to look for in severe weather. No matter what the weather holds, we can take steps to be safer.


1 comment:

Donny said...

Pretty Interesting. Back in 1998 I was 1 year away from moving to Arkansas. One thing I wanted to point out also- reguardless of how active/inactive it is- it only takes 1 tornado or severe weather to change lives forever- and your absolutely right prepare now while you can