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Slow Start To Tornado Season

KSAL Staff - March 16, 2015 6:47 am

March is the time of year when tornado talk ramps up.   The severe weather season looms.  Days become longer and the atmosphere changes.

If this year seems different, it is.

Only a few tornado watches have been issued so far in 2015.   The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma says there were 26 reports of tornadoes in January and just 2 in February.   As of today no twisters had been sighted in the month of March.

Could all of this change soon?  Some forecasters believe so.   Mike Halpert with the Climate Prediction Center told ArkansasOnline.com that the colder winter in the eastern half of the nation combined with a drought in the west have created a quiet year so far.

“We had the jet stream going through the middle of the country,” Halpert said.   Cold, arctic air that blasted from Canada, dipped deep into Arkansas and then headed back to the northeast. “The upper-level conditions conducive for the formation of tornadoes were not able to form as well.  They are more dependent on the warmer weather.”

The Climate Prediction Center says it has discovered an El Nino.   Five years ago, that pattern was blamed for warm temperatures in Canada.   It also seems to affect tropical system development as well.

For the past couple of weeks, the jet stream has retreated to the northern United States.   That has allowed very warm air to cause above-normal temperatures in the nation’s mid-section.

A quiet start to the year has no correlation to what type of tornado season lies ahead.   In 2004 – one of the quietest starts to tornado season registered a record 1,819 tornadoes by the year’s end.

Story by : Dan Holiday / The Storm Report