Good morning bloggers,
Here is an incredible statistic for you on this April 30th. Kansas has had only 45 severe weather reports in the first four months of 2020, and no tornadoes. That's right! Kansas has had zero tornadoes in 2020 through the first four months of the year. A severe weather report is one that meets one of the following criteria: A tornado; a severe thunderstorm with wind gusts of 50 knots, or 58 mph; hail at least 1" in diameter (the size of a quarter or larger.
As shown in this graphic above, Kansas has had zero tornadoes, and Missouri is at 13 tornadoes for the year so far. These are tornado reports, and these are not the final number of confirmed tornadoes. This analysis is being done by the National Weather Service and the final numbers will be posted in the next few months.
While Kansas is still waiting for its first tornado of the year, Mississippi would love for their total to be done for the year. Mississippi is leading the way with 98 tornado reports already. It has been very active over what is called "Dixie Alley". Dixie Alley often lights up during the late winter and early spring, and then the traditional Tornado Alley lights up in April and May, before summer settles in. As we move into June, the tornado risks shift north towards Canada, and then there is an occasional tornado set up during the summer. The risk of tornadoes decreases due to the retreating and weakening jet stream as summer arrives.
2020 Tornado Report As Of April 30
Mississippi has had 98 tornadoes, followed by Alabama with 67, then Georgia with 66. Look at the western half of the nation. They have had 7 total tornadoes. 73 people have been killed by tornadoes across the United States this year. This is way above average!
Why are there so many tornadoes east of the Rocky Mountains? The Rocky Mountains are a big reason. The huge north to south mountain range allows dry air to descend down into the plains and join up with warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. The huge warm water source of the Gulf of Mexico is the other important geographical boundary that leads to more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world. 75% of all of the worlds tornadoes happen in the USA due to these two geographical boundaries located in the middle of where the jet stream tracks across in the westerly belt. The jet stream is caused by temperature contrasts and it drops south during the fall, strengthens through the winter, and the weakens as summer approaches. Until it weakens, the storm systems begin interacting with the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and violent thunderstorms are the result.
The Flow Aloft This Weekend:
This map above shows the flow aloft forecast for Sunday. There is a ridge extending from Mexico to Canada across the Rocky Mountains, and this will limit any severe weather risks for a while.
Severe Weather Risk Today:
There is no slight risk today. A few stronger thunderstorms are possible in those marginal risk areas, but this is a quiet pattern for the end of April, and it will continue while the ridges move across the plains.
Expect a shift in the pattern, as the LRC supports a much more active second half of April, and an active first half of June. After June 15, the jet stream will weaken and shift north for the summer, and the risks of tornadoes will shift north and weaken significantly. There are occasional severe weather risks and flooding risks over the summer months, but the tornado risk goes way down as the energy aloft shifts north and weakens near the USA/ Canada border.
So, here we are. It is a quiet April 30, 2020 on a Thursday morning. For the storm chasers out there, they are likely frustrated at how quiet it has been across Kansas. For myself, I am quite happy, and hope the number stays at zero. It won't. It never has, and May is coming. There will be a few bigger severe weather set ups next month, but for now, let's stop and smell the roses. Get that walk in this afternoon as it will be an almost perfect day here in KC. Expect a high of 71 degrees with light winds!!!!
Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading the weather blog. Have a great Thursday! I hope everyone is doing well.