- On March 5, 2018
- hail, roofing, severe storm, weather
Last year the U.S. saw some of the most destructive weather events on record. In total, there were 16 severe weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States, including 8 severe storms and 3 tropical cyclones. Is a similar severe weather pattern in store for 2018? Here’s what we know: Forecasters are calling for two or three big severe events as early as March in the Southeast.
What is impacting this prediction? One of the factors driving this spring’s forecast is La Niña. La Niña conditions have been in place throughout this winter and that typically favors an earlier peak in the severe weather season (April) and potential for a higher frequency of tornadoes. In addition, the northward position of the jet stream will allow moisture to stream northward from the Gulf of Mexico, providing fuel for thunderstorms and potentially enhancing severe weather activity over the Southern Plains and Mississippi and Tennessee River Valleys.
Historical Data & 2018 Predictions
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) evaluated the probability of severe weather throughout the year for a 30-year period from 1982-2011. This historical data illustrates what many of us already know, the risk of severe weather increases over the Lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South during early March. The threat of severe weather then becomes greater and spreads northward into the Southern Plains by early April. The typical April ‘hotbed’ for severe weather centers around Oklahoma, but the majority of the central and eastern U.S. also have an increased risk of severe weather by that point in the year.
During May, the heightened risk of severe weather continues to expand northeastward across the Ohio Valley and into the Carolinas. The higher probabilities continue to spread north and east through early summer, while the threat further to the south slowly decreases.
The threat of severe weather typically slows down by mid-August as Hurricane season heats up.