You wouldn’t know it by looking outside, but Tornado season has started.
The tornado count for March 2015? Zero. That’s right, so far this month there have been no tornadoes reported in the U.S. — this is only the second time this has happened since 1950, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Greg Forbes.
Per @DrGregForbes, only two years since 1950 have seen 0 reported tornadoes in the March 1-16 period: 1969 and 2015.
— Sean Breslin (@Sean_Breslin) March 16, 2015
March is usually a pretty big month for severe weather, but this year has been eerily quiet with no tornadoes or severe thunderstorms watches issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On top of that, the National Weather Service has seen no sign of any dramatic changes for the next week or so.
“We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather,” Greg Carbin, a meteorologist at NOAA, said in a statement. “This has never happened in the record of [Storm Prediction Center] watches dating back to 1970.”
Since the beginning of this year, NOAA has only issued four tornado watches and no severe storm watches. In comparison, NOAA usually issues 52 tornado watches by mid-March. Since January 1st, only 20 tornados have been reported, compared to the 130 tornado average for that time period.
“We’re in a persistent pattern that suppresses severe weather, and the right ingredients — moisture, instability, and lift — have not been brought together in any consistent way so far this year,” Carbin said.
But NOAA warns that we shouldn’t get too used to a quiet tornado season because April and May usually pack a punch when it comes to storms. Weather patterns can also change within a few days, meaning a storm or tornado could come on suddenly.
A NOAA analysis of tornado data found that “the ten lowest and ten highest watch count years through the middle of March reveals little correlation to the subsequent number of tornadoes through the end of June.” This means that just because March is quiet, doesn’t mean the rest of the year will be.
Early 2012 saw 77 tornado watches issued through mid-March, according to NOAA, but the period through June was relatively quiet. On the flip side, 1984 was very quiet through mid-March in terms of tornadoes, but then became much more active by June.
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