As the Climate.gov site addressed in their recent El Niño update
As Autumn approaches us here in the Southern Hemisphere, Spring is putting it’s foot in the door up in the Northern Hemisphere. And as many of you know, Spring means tornadoes for the United States. Last year in 2009 we saw the largest tornado research mission in history in progress with the Vortex II team. The season was also well documented with the Discovery Channel’s ‘Storm Chasers” series getting into the action and broadcasting some of the action for the rest of the world to see. It will be interesting to see if they partake in another season this year, as popularity in mainstream culture for storm chasing seems to be on the increase.
2009 saw some very successful intercepts by Sean Casey, Reed Timmer and the TVN team as well as Vortex II. They managed to intercept a tornado which is said to have wielded the largest amount of data ever collected on a single tornado.
Tornadoes are still a long way from being completely understood and therefore any new research is vital in ensuring an increase in warning times as well as being able to distinguish before hand whether a supercell thunderstorm will drop a tornado or not. At current the only way to forecast a tornado is to give an average percentage forecast and they can be very inaccurate. As meteorologists are still puzzled as to how some supercell thunderstorms spawn tornadoes but yet others do not.
Personally I am looking forward to another season of following the tornado activity. I have been tracking hurricanes for 6 years, though this is only my third year thoroughly following the United States tornado season.
Speaking of hurricanes. Hurricane season will also soon be upon us, and officially kicks off on the 1st June for the Atlantic ocean. As I’m sure lots of you are aware, 2005 was a very active year for tornadoes with such names as Katrina, Rita and Wilma causing destruction, though since 2005 the Atlantic hurricane seasons have been very tame. The current forecast for this year is for above average activity so we will just have to see how it pans out!