A look back at spring 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Joplin.

When you talk about Spring 2011, Joplin is the one thing that comes to mind.

You can't erase that image of the sea of debris stretching farther than the eye can see. You can't forget the trees rising from the piles of rubble stripped of their leaves, their limbs, even their bark. You surely can't forget the pain in the survivors' faces after the EF-5 tornado brought their neighborhoods to pieces.

FULL JOPLIN COVERAGE | www.kshb.com/Joplin

With these images of Joplin's devastation from that fateful May 22 day, and a high number of tornadoes nationwide, it may be hard to believe that the Kansas City viewing area was less stormy last spring than a typical spring.

In the months of March, April and May, KCI totaled 14 days with thunderstorms. That falls short of the average number of thunderstorm days in this time frame: 15.7. What's more, Spring 2011 was over an inch short of the seasonal normal rainfall.

It can still snow in spring, but aside from a few days with light snow, Spring 2011 devoid of any major snow/ice events.

According to National Weather Service reports from KCI, last March, April or May did not have any days with sleet, freezing rain, mixed precipitation or heavy snow. This itself was a pleasant surprise, as the preceding winter dealt us 36.9" of snow – the ninth snowiest on record.

One thing somewhat normal about last spring was the temperature. Even though we were near 80-degrees on St. Patrick's Day and hit 90 degrees in early April, temperatures of the entire Spring 2011 actually fell on the cool side of things by 1/10th of one degree.

When we look ahead to this spring, some may be hoping to finally see a big snowfall in March. Others may be looking for lots of rain. Some may even want to hit 90 degrees as soon as possible.

But we all hope that this spring, next spring and for the rest of our lives that we never again see another tornado like the one that hit Joplin.

Chief Meteorologist Gary Lezak will give his weather team's predictions for what we'll see in the upcoming months on his spring forecast Monday night on 41 Action News at 10 p.m.

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