November Tornado Outbreaks are More Common than you Think - KMSP-TV

November Tornado Outbreaks are More Common than you Think

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Amongst meteorologists, November is often called the "second season." There is typically a spike in the number of twisters during the month which typically exceeds the months around it. Why is this? Well, as we all know, November is that month when the country goes from refreshingly cool to downright cold. To get temperatures to drop that fast, it often involves a couple vigorous cold fronts to traverse their way across the continent. These are spawned by vicious low pressure centers that stir up the atmosphere enough to produce conditions ripe for tornadoes. You can see in the graph below that November averages more tornadoes than the months around it… not by much, but what tips it over the rest is often that one or two big outbreaks during the month every couple of years or so.

As for this outbreak… it was the first major one in the month since 2005, which is also why you probably forgot that November was a tornado month. Just like everything else, there are cycles to tornado producing storms. 2002 to 2005 were big years for November tornadoes while 2006 to 2012 were very limited years. The great part about this one was it was seen as a likely outcome several days before with the storm prediction center issuing a high risk for severe weather the night before. Here is the combination of the SPC's forecast versus storm reports from Sunday.

A truly stellar forecast! It really couldn't have lined up better. Preliminary estimates showed 80 tornadoes touching down, but this number is already dropping. These numbers are produced from tornado reports from storm spotters, law enforcement, the media, meteorologists, and storm chasers. But often times, with large violent tornadoes like the ones we saw Sunday, you will get multiple reports from the same tornado. So as survey crews go out and measure the damage, length, and track of the storm, they can figure out the number that actually touched down. So more often than not, official numbers will drop far lower than what is considered preliminary. Here is what they are at so far.

The number already dropping from the initial 88 down to 75. The number will likely continue to fall as survey teams asses the damage. So how is this done?? Well, I'd say this graphic sums it up nicely.

Here is another graphic that may be eye opening. This shows where all of the severe weather warnings were issued on Sunday by the National Weather Service including the tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. Really does reiterate where the severe weather was located.

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