Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Remembering Greensburg - when does tornado season peak

We are getting ready to mark the 10 year anniversary of the Greensburg tornado on May 4th. Many of you will remember something about that night, or where you were when you found out the town had taken a direct hit. I was coming into work to relieve Merril who didn't have much of a voice left after spending so many hours on the air. I worked until 5 a.m. the next morning, only to come back later that day and cover more bad weather. That entire weekend was such a blur because there were violent storms all weekend long. 

Just take a look at all of the different watches that were issued from Friday evening through Sunday morning. One tornado watch was issued for a 12 hour time frame. That's pretty unusual, but the entire weekend following Greensburg was a mess of severe storms.

It is historically one of the busiest times of the year for tornadoes in Kansas. In fact, the first couple of weeks could be considered the peak of tornado season. Just take a look at the graph and see just how many tornadoes, on average, happen from late April through the first part of May. 

Why is early May so violent with storms? Most of it has to do with the fact that the jet stream winds are still very strong coming out of the winter season. The warm and cold temperatures continue to battle it out through the central Plains, and the increase in Gulf of Mexico moisture certainly adds to it all. This is one of the most active tornado areas in the entire world, as many of the key ingredients come together right over Kansas and surrounding states. 

Enjoy the sunshine and warmer weather that's coming for the end of the week and the weekend. It's going to be nice to have some calmer weather for awhile. Later this week we will look at the longer range pattern and try to identify some key features to watch as we head through May.

1 comment:

Anita said...

I remember that night - in Greensburg, in the basement, hearing our home torn apart over our heads. Surviving that one left me scared of storms, I'm praying for the rest of spring to be relatively calm! Thanks for the great post.

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