Tornado season in the United States peaks in spring, but severe thunderstorms and even tornadoes can occur throughout the year.
The areas most vulnerable to tornado impact were identified in a study by Shane Brown, senior weather data specialist at Fox News.
Brown analyzed storm activity since 1950 and identified north-to-south jet stream patterns that create environments where violent winds are likely to develop in the future.
Brown reported that during the winter months, severe storm systems capable of producing a tornado are almost exclusively limited to the southern states.
The weather expert explained that the warm air jet stream from the Gulf of Mexico settles in the southern region of the United States and high-impact storms typically result when cold air coming down from Canada penetrates into the southern region.
According to the New York Post, Brown added that atmospheric conditions that lend themselves to thunderstorms “are often found where there’s a southward dip in the jet stream – called a trough.”
Brown also explained that by spring, the jet stream begins a northward migration, bringing more warm air into contact with cold. “This causes the threat of tornadoes to also spread farther north as we progress through March, April, and May,” he said.
Tornadoes are prone to occur in regions where daily temperatures range from the low 60s to the high 80s or 90s.
Brown noted that May is historically the most “active month for tornadoes.” His research found that the average number of tornado sightings in May for the last 70 years is 294. That number reduces by almost 30% by June.
The weather expert identified the “northern and central Plains and the Midwest” as focal points for tornado activity by April. He noted that the summer months were peak months for tornado activity in the “Northeast and mid-Atlantic states.”
Tornado activity in the ‘Gulf Coast region’ peaks in the fall” as the jet stream retreats southward.
Brown was quick to point out there are notable exceptions, such as the December 2021 EF-4 tornado that left a 166-mile path of destruction across western Kentucky.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.