Could we be in for a record year?

This year seems to be taking off with a bang, with the storms we've had from 3/08/06 to today, with one impressive system after another coming in off the west coast and slicing it's way across the plains. Moisture return off the gulf coast has been great, where a short while ago it seems like we didn't have anything. Unless we fall into a hole, which we very well could, and a lot of chase season left, do you think this could be a record chase season? I think the 12th has us off to a good start, unfortunately people lost their lives. I myself think if the gulf keeps pumping in the moisture and the west coast keeps generating impressive storms like the recent, this could be a beauty of a season. Unfortunately it seems like where ever I am, storms aren't! <_<
I'm not sure what the rest of this tornado season will bring. I'm sure there have been seasons that have started out on a rampage and then tamed considerably during the more common "peak" months, but I'd say, since this is 2006, and since last year was mediocre to say the least, this year could try to make up for last year. This is total instinct and hope though. Who knows what the end result will be. I only hope for minimal loss of life and property damage.
For some reason I think April might be a bigger month in the Texas Panhandle than May. I'm not sure why but I have a feeling...
Not quite sure how the feeling will turn out, but I think if you look at the archives EVERY YEAR someone says "does the first big outbreak mean we have a record year coming?" and a large majority of times the answer is no...
i wouldnt base a season that has just started on one outbreak, its not that unusal to have outbreaks early in the season. You must remember that hurricanes played a huge part in 2004's record year
My thoughts are, I believe March will continue to be active with longwaves and imbedded shortwaves continuing to move across the country, with fairly short 4-8 day ridging in between. At least until the models start hinting at a longer duration Omega or some other blocking type pattern it looks to continue into the second half of March. I still think areas from the lower and middle MS valley, southern and central parts of the Midwest, and the western half of the southeastern US (from around an Augusta, GA north-south line westward) have the greatest potential to be more active than normal when it comes to severe. But that's just a hunch I have.

What I am becoming increasingly worried about, as some other folks have mentioned in the weeks past, is the latter half of the spring chase season. The span of time from late May to mid June that in most years, produces explosive, relatively slow-moving isolated to scattered discrete supercells along the dryline from west KS down into the OK and TX panhandes and down towards Lubbock. The I-27 panhandle chases through the flattest, treeless non-desert territory I have seen. My fear is unless those areas can get a helluva April in terms of rain or winter precip, and soak into that parched topsoil, hot dry ridging may be more invited to park here for too long during the late spring. Or just as bad, relocate the average daily location of the dryline, even during periods of persistant favoribly upper southwest flow and western US troughing (chase weeks), well to the east while at the same time moving the average location of non-nuclear sections of the cap far to the north and northeast of these areas of southwestern tornado alley. Just my speculation of what could happen if things don't change between now and then. Maybe instead I'll need to head to the cornbelt in early May to see some dryline action? :blink:
Here's one shot in the dark: ENSO and teleconnections.

Our dominant pattern coming out of winter is La Nina / -PNA / -NAO / indeterminate AO.

The closest analog to this is 1996 (strong correlation) and 1985 (moderate). Those were iffy years with best prospects in Colorado/Kansas/Nebraska. That would match up well with what would happen if we get stronger capping due to the southwest furnace this spring. There's also somewhat of a correlation with 2001, but not as strong as the other years.

One big outbreak a season does not make. If there will be a record year for total tornadoes in a year it will likely have to come from a combination of an extremely active season and a few landfalling tropical cyclones that are prolific tornado producers. Perhaps 2006 will produce local records such as "most tornadoes in Missouri for a calendar year". More chasers and spotters means that fewer tornadoes will go undeteced so some state records are bound to be broken sooner or later. The jet stream has been cranking the last couple months. If it can continue through spring than watch out! Still thinking southwest drought means nasty cap for the Southern Plains. If 2001 is any corollary for this year as Tim noted then there should be no shortage of events in the Northern Plains and still good potential down south if the drought can break.

2001 Tornado Days (NCDC):
North Dakota: 14 Tornado Days
Minnesota: 16 Tornado Days
South Dakota: 10 Tornado Days
Iowa: 15 Tornado Days
Nebraska: 23 Tornado Days

Oklahoma: 17 Tornado Days (none between 6/5 and 9/7)
Kansas: 21 Tornado Days
Texas: ~ 40 Tornado Days
I honestly think that it is too soon to tell. Pretty much every year, there are outbreak events such as this. It just so happens that this year, one of those events happened to occur early in the season. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's a sign of some sort that this year will be a record. For all we know (with the atmosphere being chaotic) we could get ridged out 2 months down the road.