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Tornado Season Arrives, But Worst Part May Start Later Than Usual

By Morgan Chilson   |   Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 09:05 AM

The tornado season has arrived, as evidenced by multiple tornado reports from the Midwest and California in the past week, bringing with it predictions that the height of the season may start a little later than it normally does.

Winter’s lingering cool air may slow down the start of the tornado season, according to AccuWeather. Usually, severe weather comes on gradually, but this year long-range weather predictors said it’s like to come on suddenly during May and June.

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AccuWeather predicted this year’s weather pattern to be similar to last year’s which had a “lower-than-average severe weather season for the nation as a whole.”

Paul Pastelok, who tracks long-range weather patterns for AccuWeather, said this year’s season is likely to start slow because of a the jet stream trough, the winds located high in the Earth’s atmosphere. Add that to a cold winter, and the result probably will be fewer tornadoes.

"This year, the ground is colder, the Great Lakes have an extensive amount of ice and the Gulf of Mexico waters are starting off colder than average," Pastelok said. "All of these can have a negative impact on temperatures in the lower atmosphere."

Tornadoes tend to occur in Florida and the part of the country known as Tornado Alley, which includes portions of many Midwestern states.

Still, tornadoes are unpredictable, and Reuters warned Wednesday of thunderstorms moving through the Midwest that bring significant tornado possibilities, along with possible large hail and damaging winds.

"The parameters look pretty good for tornadic storms tomorrow (Thursday), but the models are varying quite a bit on where the corridor of greatest risk will be," John Hart, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told Reuters Wednesday.

A tornado touched down near St. Louis during the night Wednesday, the Kansas City Star reported. Other watches across the area were in effect on Thursday..

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