The area has a chance at thunderstorms this week. Tonight, primarily north toward the U.P. Wednesday more inclusive of north-central Wisconsin. Severe weather is not expected. Severe Weather Awareness Week for us is next week.
Severe weather season across the US, primarily the far south, is well underway.
The preliminary tornado count through March 31 stands at 207 across the U.S., according to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC), nearly half of which were reported during two outbreaks, one on March 17 and another on March 25. The second of the two outbreaks was the deadliest, where six people died. The same eruption of storms spawned an EF4 tornado that tracked through the Atlanta suburb of Newnan, Georgia, in the middle of the night.
After tornadoes paced well behind normal in January and February, March's uptick reversed that trend. The 180 tornadoes in March easily eclipsed the three-year monthly average of 82 tornadoes, according to the SPC (Storm Prediction Center).
One of the bigger factors that will contribute to a busier-than-normal peak of severe weather season is La Niña, which is forecast to continue throughout most of the spring.
A La Niña pattern occurs when the water near the equator in the Pacific Ocean is cooler than normal, which influences the jet stream and the overall track of storm systems.
That pattern not only stirs stronger winds high up in the atmosphere but also sets the stage for bigger clashes of cold and warm air. Both of those factors are ingredients for severe weather.
However, not all weather elements are aligned to create elevated conditions for severe weather development for all areas of the country. Severe drought conditions in the Plains could limit the thunderstorm activity in the region traditionally thought of as Tornado Alley, which spans from northern Texas through Nebraska. Experts are forecasting the worst of the tornado activity to focus farther east across the Mississippi River Valley and into the Ohio Valley and parts of the mid-Atlantic. Major population centers such as Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; St. Louis and Indianapolis could all face numerous severe weather dangers.
It’s the central Gulf that looks warmer right now. There may be more concentration of severe weather in the central Gulf states and the Tennessee Valley more than there will be in the Plains. As of March 31, the water just off the coast of Texas was around 65 F, compared to the water in the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico which was around 81 F, according to NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administation), as long as the water remains cool along the coast of Texas, it will limit the amount of warm, humid air that can be lifted over the Plains to aid in the development of severe weather.