North Texas Spring Tornado Outlook

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Randy Jennings

May 18, 2013
We’re off to a stormy start to 2017, so let the media “tornado outlooks” begin. This one comes from NBC 5 in DFW, who appear to think they are going to get to use their new radar toys a lot this year:

“The number of people killed by tornadoes over the weekend was more than the total number of people killed by tornadoes in all of 2016…In North Texas we have had a few rounds of severe weather this year, but nothing to this magnitude. On Jan. 2, strong storms moved through during the morning hours with 60 mph winds. Jan. 15, a large supercell produced brief tornadoes in Bosque, Hill, Johnson, Tarrant and Dallas counties. It is too soon to tell, but it could be an active severe weather year for North Texas. The reason: La Niña.”

NBC 5 goes on to cite the 2015 John Allen, Michael Tippett, and Adam Sobel study published in Nature Geoscience and shows graphs that show tornado and hail frequencies for the spring months (March-May) during El Niño and La Niña.

You can see the full NBC 5 story at:

To be fair to NBC 5, they do say it is “too soon to tell” and they do go into more detail regarding the study than a lot of media reports do. But NBC 5 leaves out a very important detail – NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts “a transition to ENSO-neutral is expected to occur by February, with ENSO-neutral continuing through the first half of 2017.”
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