Storm Chasers with No Where to Go

20361_220211709980_501364980_736166_7308513_n This has certainly been an eventful season of winter weather for Iowa.  But for the nation, 2010 is not starting out as an exciting year for storm chasers.  For the first time since detailed record keeping began in 1950, the Storm Prediction Center received no reports of tornadoes in the month of February.

feb2010-300x215 For people in Iowa, that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but severe weather generally ramps up further south by now.  Instead, many parts of the US experienced extreme cold, and major winter storms.

So what does this all mean?  According to Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, not much.  Yes it’s a slow start, but there is no evidence that the first weeks of the year play a role in the overall intensity of the severe weather season.  Brooks points out that in 2003 the US went nearly six weeks without a tornado.  By May, we were already over the national average after large outbreaks.

All in all, this is an unusual pattern to say the least.  But for the rest of the year, we’ll have to wait and see.  With snow melting across the state, the sun staying out longer each day and more warm air reaching the Upper Midwest, it’s only a matter of time before that first severe thunderstorm reaches the Hawkeye State.

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