Peak Tornado Season Has Been Very Quiet

Northwest Iowa — The end of June means the end of peak tornado season in our area. Twisters can strike during any month but they’re typically the worst here during May and June.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Peter Rogers at the Sioux Falls office of the National Weather Service, says it’s been a very quiet season for tornadoes in their county warning area, which is roughly from Sioux City north to Brookings, South Dakota and from Chamberlain, South Dakota east to Jackson, Minnesota.

(as said:) “In a normal year our climatological peak for tornadoes is in May and June like you alluded to, but so far this year we’ve been very quiet. In fact, we’ve only had one reported tornado so far this year through the month of June. So when you look at that, we have a local database that goes back to 2007. So from 2007 until current, the average number of tornadoes through the month of June is roughly about 12 tornadoes. So we are well behind that pace in 2020.”

Conditions simply haven’t been conducive for many tornadoes this season. Rogers reminds folks not to get complacent as severe weather, including tornadoes, can develop anytime. We asked him if the calm severe weather season is an indicator of things to come, or if it means that we could still see a lot of severe weather.

(as said:) “It’s a good question. It’s really difficult to say — because… if what’s happened up until this point is going to mean something later in the summer. The question is something that probably needs to be addressed by some longer-term research that can be done. But right now you have for whatever reason we have had lower tornado counts in the past few years in what would normally be considered the peak.”

According to Rogers, the National Weather Service encourages people to have more than one way of receiving warnings, and not to just rely on your cell phone, as all systems are capable of failure. He says having more than one way to receive warnings also ensures that you can take cover as quickly as possible.

(as said:) “And to make sure that if you have a basement to get into the basement right away, otherwise the lowest level of your home in the interior room a small interior room. Generally that’s a closet or bathroom. You normally want to put as many walls as you can between you and the outside just in case God forbid your home was to start to come apart with an approaching tornado. So those are just some things for people to continue to keep in mind, even though we have been quiet. That doesn’t mean that we can’t see a quick turnaround to a more active tornado season.”

Rogers says warm and humid conditions will persist into the 4th of July weekend.

(as said:) “Looking at the forecast, one thing people just need to be aware of is that it’s going to be continued warm and muggy into the weekend and with heat indices into the 90s. So people just need to continue to be aware that they need to take it easy in the sun, continue to hydrate themselves, and stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as they can.”

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