The 2015 tornado season predictions claim that southern states like Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma may have a decent chance of generating tornadoes based upon the weather analysis. Unfortunately, these tornado predictions are based upon an experimental forecast, and since El Niño has been very weak, it has made it difficult to be certain.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, multiple tornadoes hit Oklahoma City during Wednesday, and reports say that at least 12 people were injured. The Storm Prediction Center has warned that bad weather may come to Tornado Alley and predicts more storms are possible later in this week.
“People just really need to stay weather aware, have a plan and understand that severe storms are possible across portions of the southern Plains almost daily through Saturday,” meteorologist Jonathan Kurtz said.
While that is the short term forecast, the 2015 tornado season predictions attempt to use long-term weather patterns to accurately predict how violent a particular year might be.
“The cool thing is, you can actually forecast what the spring tornado season will be like,” said lead study author John Allen, a severe weather climatologist at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society in Palisades, New York. “It’s been known for quite a while that El Niño and La Niña actually shifts the jet stream over the United States.”
The research team found that El Niño tends to decrease tornado activity over portions of Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, while La Niña tends to increase the ferocity of the tornado season. Climate Central explained why this ENSO pattern occurs.
“El Niño tends to tamp down on tornadoes because it shifts the jet stream further south over the U.S., which blocks moisture from flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico. The moisture is one of the key ingredients for fostering the unstable, stormy atmospheric environment on which tornadoes thrive. La Niña acts in the opposite way, pushing the jet stream to the north and letting that moisture penetrate further into the heart of the country.”
Unfortunately, any 2015 tornado season predictions are going to be fairly weak since it has not been sending the strongest signal.
“I don’t think every year ENSO is going to give us the answer,” Allen said. “It’s a weak El Niño, so we wouldn’t expect it to have the greatest signal.”
Regardless, Allen notes that people should not say they do not need to worry anymore. According to Live Science, their 2015 tornado season predictions still call for a 60 percent chance of an average tornado year, a 30 percent chance of a below-normal year, and a 10 percent chance of an above-average number of tornadoes. Even in a relatively quiet year, a late May tornado outbreak could still be deadly.
[Image via Kelly DeLay/Flickr]