Mississippi Tornado Warning the Start of 3-Day Twister Outbreak?

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 12:44 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A Mississippi tornado warning for the weekend and into early next week is part of a massive twister outbreak that forecaster are predicting to stretch from the Midwest to the Deep South. 

The National Weather Service is forecasting a "significant multi-day severe event" that will move from the South plains on Sunday to the Mississippi Valley by Monday.

Tornadoes could result from a series of thunderstorms that will begin on Saturday, with severe weather conditions predicted for parts of central Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, according to the Weather Channel.

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"This is a very strong upper system with very strong wind shear," Bill Bunting, chief of operations at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., told Mashable.com. "We are on track for at least a 3-day round of severe weather. It’s difficult to say at this time just how significant."

Among the cities being affected by the massive tornado warning are Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Nashville, Birmingham, St. Louis, and Wichita, Kansas, TravelersToday.com reported.

The massive tornado warning comes just days after the 2014 tornado season was declared the safest in nearly 100 years, with no tornado-related deaths reported so far this year. The last time there were no recorded deaths at this point in tornado season was 1915.

In addition to the lack of fatalities, there have also been fewer, less severe tornadoes overall.

Since the start of 2014, there has not been a tornado of 3 or greater strength on the Fujita scale, which measures the intensity of tornadoes as they hit the ground. The Fujita scale ranges from 0 to 5, with 5 being the strongest.

While the average number of tornadoes each year is 157, there have been just 20 F1 or F2-strength tornados so far in 2014.

One of the reasons for the slow start to this year's tornado season is the colder than usual winter.

"We have seen well below-normal temperatures continue in some areas of the country ... a continuation of the below-normal temperatures over the winter," Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., told USA Today. "Winter cold is loosely correlated with below-normal tornado numbers."

As weak as this tornado season has been thus far, there was a record 465 tornadoes just three years ago, The Washington Post reported.

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