Monday, June 7, 2010

Where are all the tornadoes in Minnesota?

As we get deeper into the severe weather season, normally Minnesota would see twisters dance across the landscape and hopefully not causing damage or bodily harm.  The month of June sees the greatest frequency of tornadoes.  I know you’re asking, “Well if June see the most tornadoes, then where are they?”.  The answer is not simple, but we just haven’t seen the setup with a ton of moisture, heat, and veering of winds at the same time.  With the colder winter over the Gulf, that cooled the water temperatures and prevented much moisture from spreading north.  The effects of the horrible BP oil spill have been negligible on the weather, I believe, comparing the area of spill relative to the size of the Gulf of Mexico.

The latest date that Minnesota has seen a tornado is June 23rd, according to the fine folks at the National Weather Service and the State Climatology Office.  Don’t mean to put any jinxes on anybody or promote any kind of weather terrorism, but the state is overdue for a tornado to hit soon - perhaps within a month.

Breaking down the numbers, this is what I found about dates as it relates to when the first tornadoes strike the state looking at data between 1999 and 2009:

Year First MN tornado
1999 6/5
2000 4/27
2001 5/1
2002 5/28
2003 5/14
2004 4/18
2005 3/30
2006 5/7
2007 5/23
2008 5/25
2009 6/17
Avg. Date (1999-2009) 5/12
Earliest (1999-2009) 3/30
Latest (1999-2009) 6/17
Latest Historical Date 6/23

March is the earliest month to see tornadoes.  Most of us that have been living in Minnesota for a while remember the Comfrey and St. Peter tornadoes in 1998 that hit on March 28.  Last year was the third latest on record for the first report.  The average start date between 1999 and 2009 happens to be in mid-May.

Could we be in store for another climatological record?  We will  know in a few short weeks.  It appears a more active pattern will be seen in the Midwest over the next week or two according to the forecast models.  There’s still quite a bit of uncertainty.  It’s difficult to predict what will happen more than 5 days out, I don’t care what anyone says.  These are just some stats you’ll start to hear about over the upcoming weeks.