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  • Writer's pictureTodd Yakoubian

More Severe Storms Likely

Sadly, more severe weather and tornadoes will be likely as we mark the half way point into our primary severe weather season.

We have a chance Sunday and once again by the middle of next week. Right now, the system Sunday does not appear as strong as the one on Easter Sunday, but if there's severe weather, it will likely be across southern Arkansas.

Look at the number of tornadoes over the past 10 years from January first through April 16th. So far this year, 21 tornadoes have been confirmed in our state. The yearly average is 33. We're well on our way to that number given the pattern and what's to come later this year. When I say later this year, I'm referring to tropical systems which can bring heavy rain and tornadoes PLUS our secondary severe weather season, fall/early winter.

Look at 2014, at this point, we only had 1 tornado. That year, the Gulf of Mexico was COLD! It was slow to warm and slow to deliver high moisture levels. Once it did, we know what happened on April 27th. It's a reminder that it only takes 1 storm.

What about the remainder of our primary severe weather season? IMO, it looks active. Long range models continue to show colder air coming out of Canada battling the surge of spring warmth. Combine that sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, we're far from over this spring.

The Gulf warmth will enhance moisture levels and therefore fuel storms as disturbances cross the country. The only thing which will decrease our storm threat is the seasonal movement of the jet stream. Once that starts to retreat northward, our storm chances will dwindle. That typically doesn't happen until later in May into June.

Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature anomalies. It's warm relative to average! This helps system efficiently transport moisture northward. This is also bad news for the upcoming tropical season.

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