This month’s apparently record breaking number of tornadoes has been blamed on La Nina. But all the figures and reasoning in the world is little comfort for people in areas of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and other states this month. Once again, areas of the southern U.S. are being pounded by severe weather and tornadoes tonight. This all comes just one day after another long tracked tornado tore through central Arkansas last night, killing several people.
To the right is a 3D Doppler radar image taken of the tornado in Central Arkansas last night. You can see this tornado was VERY apparent on radar. This strong tornado comes just days after an EF-4 slammed into the greater Saint Louis area on Friday.
While this pattern is not unprecedented, it’s frequency and severity is unusual. What’s frustrating for many storm chasers is many of these tornadoes are occurring in areas not easily accessible for chase teams on the road. I can personally attest to this from our own chase in Missouri on Friday. That’s a major disappointment because it limits the amount of data we can collect on these monsters when they form.
Now I don’t want to alarm people living in Iowa, but I want to stress that there is no end in sight for this pattern of active weather. The reason we’re not seeing this stuff in Iowa is simply the jet streak. The current path of the jet is keeping the roughest weather confined to areas south of the state. But there are growing signs that pattern will not last.
It appears the jet might begin to shift to the north as early as next week. This could mean bad things for Iowa as we enter the month of May. Of course this is not unusual for this time of year, but the severity of storm outbreaks this year could pose an enhanced threat in the coming weeks and it’s something I would urge everyone in Iowa to keep a very close eye on. The weather is getting warmer and that means more outdoor plans that sometimes keep people away from traditional forms of weather warnings. Something to keep in mind as severe weather season in Iowa begins to ramp up even more.