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Tornado season has been wild, and more storms are coming

Tornado season has been wild, and more storms are coming


The deadly and destructive 2019 tornado season has been above-average, and shows no signs of letting up.
A day after at least 20 tornadoes rolled through the central U.S., more twisters, strong winds, downpours and hail threatened parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois on Tuesday.
“It’s been very active,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossio, noting that many of the tornadoes have been in so-called “Dixie Alley” in the southeastern U.S.
So far this year, based on preliminary data from the Storm Prediction Center, 697 tornadoes have been reported in the U.S. this year. (That number will be reduced once duplicate tornado reports have been removed.)
That preliminary total of 697 is above the to-date average of 659, the prediction center said. In a typical year, from January through December, roughly 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S., according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
Tornadoes have killed 31 people so far this year, which is about half the long-term average of about 60 deaths.
The deadliest day for tornadoes so far was March 3, when 23 people died in a ferocious, EF-4 twister that tore through Macon and Lee Counties in Alabama with 170 mph winds.
One reason for the busy season, Rossio said, has been an active subtropical jet stream, which has helped stir up storms along the nation’s southern tier. Such a pattern is typical of a weak El Niño, a climate pattern marked by unusually warm sea water in the tropical Pacific Ocean, he said.
More: ‘Nowhere for the water to go’: Tornadoes, rescues, flooding swamp Central US day after 19 tornadoes
Looking ahead, more bad weather is forecast the rest of the month for the central U.S.:
“It looks like there is no end in sight to this very active pattern of severe weather into the end of May,” AccuWeather extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer said.
Rossio said the typical Tornado Alley states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska are most at risk over the next few weeks as storms fire up over the Great Plains. Along with the tornado threat, flooding will also be a big issue across the region.

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