What Months are Best to See Tornadoes?

We’re about 1 month into Spring and you may have heard about this time of year being tornado season.

Well, its kind of true depending on where you are.

Tornado season typically peaks in March and April for those in the southeastern parts of the United States. If you’re in the Midwest and Northeast then tornado season typically doesn’t start until July.

Another ‘tornado’ season may also spring up in November for the south when the temperatures begin to cool back down.

According to NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the United States leads the list for the country with the most tornadoes in a year. Their records indicate that over 1,000 tornadoes develop each year in America.

Average number of tornadoes per year per state. Courtesy: NOAA

Looking at the map above, you’ll notice that a per year average for the most tornadoes is Texas with 155 tornadoes based on the time period of 1991-2010. The simple answer as to why? Well, because Texas is a fairly big state — meaning it has more land — more room for a tornado to develop on — making the numbers quite high. It does also depend on those atmospheric conditions.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the states in the Northeast and West Coast typically have only a few tornadoes each year. That is because there generally isn’t too much moisture in the atmosphere during the tornado season.

Tornado. Courtesy: NOAA

A tornado has been seen in every single state and in every single continent (except for Antarctica, although it is still possible). It really just depends on if the weather conditions are just right for tornado development.

As for the time of day, a tornado can develop at anytime. The most dangerous ones are at night because most people are sleeping and you generally have little to no time to heading to the lowest lying area in your home.

The most common time is in the late afternoon and evening.

If you don’t already know… a tornado is a small column of air that violently twists from the base of a thunderstorm and then goes all the way to the ground.

A tornado isn’t a tornado until it touches the ground. It’s called a funnel cloud all the way until touchdown.

It is often difficult to see a tornado at first. You can usually see one until it picks up dirt and debris… then it’ll change color to the color of what the dirt below usually is.

Want to know more about tornadoes? Well, you’ll just have to tune into future blog posts. The next one will be about how a tornado forms, not just the location.

Cover photo courtesy NOAA

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