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Where do I go to avoid a tornado

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Posted: Apr 14, 2014 10:02 AM by Meteorologist Josh Eachus
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Topics: weather, tornado, severe, climatology

We're well into April now, statistically the most active month for tornadoes in the United States. Due to the ever evolving patterns in weather and climate, the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center updates annual averages by utilizing data over the previous three years. April blows all other months off the field in terms of tornado count, with an average of 350 to May's 238 over the last few seasons. Those numbers were bulked by a particularly devastating 2011 in which 758 April tornadoes killed 363 people.

The staggering April numbers make one wonder, what locations are most prone to twisters and where could one go to be left out of the wind? Probabilities hold that from the beginning of the year to late March, an area from Northern Louisiana eastward to Northern Alabama is at greatest risk for tornadoes. Chances range from 0.1 to 0.4 percent that a tornado will strike within 25 miles. The bull's-eye intensifies and shifts northwestward from Northern Texas to Southern Nebraska through June with chances as high as 1.4% of a tornado striking within 25 miles.

While those probabilities may seem low, consider this. When presented with outwardly appearing low numbers representing tornado risk, a meteorology professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mario Majcen posed his students with a question. He asked, "If I were to tell you there is a one in ten chance of seeing a tornado today, what would you do?" When most of his introductory level students didn't react, he asked, "If I were to tell you there is a one in ten chance of dying today, then what?" As you might expect, the latter question elicited a much stronger reaction. Similar to that example, the probabilities noted earlier are quite high given what they entail.

The image associated with this story shows that no area is really tornado free. Surely there are hot spots in the Great Plains, Gulf South and Ohio Valley but even the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic their fair share of twisters.

That returns one to the question, where shall I go to avoid the tornado?

With only two twisters reported since 1951, there is always Alaska.

You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.

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