After a Quiet 2018, Tornado Activity Ramps Up in 2019
The weather in 2018 was fairly mild, especially when it came to tornadoes. Less than 1,000 twisters touched down in the U.S., according to AccuWeather. That number may shock you, but in actuality, it was significantly less than the years before. So much so that it was one of the least active years on record.
Fast forward to this year, and it’s a different story – on pace to be one of the busier periods for tornadic activity in the country’s history.
Throughout the Midwest and Great Plains, a series of tornadoes have not only developed, but carved devastating paths of destruction for homeowners and businesses. For instance, in May, meteorologists confirmed nearly two straight weeks of heavy tornado activity, NBC News reported.
Alabama was particularly hard hit, with the National Weather Service confirming via Twitter that at least 53 twisters touched down in the Cotton State so far in 2019. That’s well above the yearly average of 47 over the same year-to-date period. In March alone, there were 28, the highest total recorded since 1950.
‘Mega clusters’ are more common than ever
The problem with tornadoes, aside from their heavy wind gusts and torrential rainfall, is they often come in groups. Florida State University atmospheric scientist James Elsner told NBC News that, tornado clusters are usually four to five in number, but larger clusters are more common than ever – and the number of days that feature these ‘mega clusters’ has more than doubled since the 1950s.
“The overall trend is not upwards, but what was surprising and sharply up is the fact that when conditions become favorable for tornadoes, we’re seeing more tornadoes per outbreak,” Elsner explained.
Unlike hurricane season, in which storms tend to take shape during a specific period, tornadoes can form virtually any time of the year. However, there are certain windows when they’re more prone to occur, which largely depends on the region of the country. For instance, states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico are more likely to see tornadoes in the late winter to early spring, while in the Southern Plains, the peak period tends to be from May to early June.
No matter where they are, however, twisters are happening much more frequently in 2019, with 1,067 in the U.S. thus far, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s especially shocking considering a typical year sees around 1,200.
What’s causing the spike in tornadoes?
No one knows for certain why tornadoes are on the rise.
“We’re not 100% sure what’s causing [it],” Victor Gensini, climatologist at Northern Illinois University, told NBC News. “There are theories that for any given outbreak, there’s more instability or fuel available for storms, but it’s really difficult to know.”
What is clear is the violent nature of these weather phenomena, as they can literally uproot trees and tear sturdily constructed houses and buildings apart. No one can stop a tornado, but there are plenty of things you can do to prepare. Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website for tips on how you can strengthen your home’s resilience and what to do when one strikes.
Regardless if the damage from a tornado is moderate or devastating, Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT can restore your property. Through our natural disaster recovery services, we work with you so that your needs are readily addressed. Contact us to learn more about our restoration and reconstruction services.