El Nino and Tornadoes: Is There A Relationship at all?

I remember the events of 1998 and all the hooplah that followed with a big deal being made about El Nino by some people and how it made an impact on the tornado season.

Certainly 1998 did seem unusually active across the South, while for the most part, the "Tornado Alley" region was rather calm much of the season.

So what effect, if any, does El Nino have on the tornado season? So far, all I'm ready to say is that it often increases rainfall on the West Coast. But, does El Nino typically increase the number of systems steered across the South and Southeast during Spring? If so, perhaps it does set the stage for more tornadic events to occur than usual in that area. But I honestly don't know enough about the subject to make any informed opinions, so I'm asking for your opinion.

So, was the 1998 storm season more coincidence or a direct result of El Nino?

I doubt there's a direct connection (this has NOT been an El Nino winter for the Great Lakes) and no way to "prove" such a thing even if it does exist... I've seen studies use the exact same datasets and use them to "conclude" both for and against a link.

- Rob
I agree with Rob here for the most part. However, last year I did experiment with using Forecast SST anomalies in the Nino regions of the Pacific compared to historically similar patterns and it worked out generally well. I'm going to see if it works again this year before I get mildly interested.

...Alex Lamers...