A Severe Weather Prediction Challenged

april-calendarDeep into the winter of 2008-2009, I began to look back at the type of winters and summers we’ve had in recent years.  I don’t think I need to get into the details of what happened last winter, spring and summer, we all know about all the historic moments.

At the start of 2009, with another rough winter including a new all-time record low for Cedar Rapids, I began to think about the type of severe weather year we would have.  My prediction was not based on science, but history and my own personal experience.

April 11, 2001 Storm Reports

April 11, 2001 Storm Reports

I thought back to the 1999-2000 winter which was VERY tough.  That winter was followed by a somewhat active severe weather season which included a strong F-3 tornado more than a mile wide that struck Dunkerton.  The following winter was also difficult but was more cold than snowy, it was followed by a much earlier severe weather season, with one of the largest tornado outbreaks in Iowa history on April 11, 2001.

So after a winter and severe weather season in 2008 that rivaled the 2000 season (minus the flood), we faced another cold and snowy winter.  So I made a prediction, a severe weather outbreak in Iowa before the end of March, and a modest tornado outbreak in the first half of April.

The first half of that prediction has already come true, most of there severe weather was contained to western and central Iowa, but as I joke with my co-workers, that’s still Iowa.  Now I have just ten days to see a tornado outbreak in Iowa to make the forecast complete.  Trouble is, winter weather continues its stranglehold on eastern Iowa.

There are some encouraging signs, long range models do indicate that the tide could be turning as early as the 13th of April.  That doesn’t leave a lot of time, but with a strong storm system forecasted in the region around that time, there’s a chance will a little shift to the north the prediction might still come true.

Correct guess or no, the pattern WILL shift in the coming weeks and before we know it, we will be very busy on the roads of Iowa.  Here’s to hoping it is a safe severe weather season for all of us involved.

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