Friday, February 24, 2012

Risk: "AccuWeather Says 2012 Could Be Another Active Tornado Season"

From Property-Casualty 360°:
After a near-record number of tornadoes in 2011, this year is gearing up to be another active season, according to

The weather service says that climatic activity last year produced a near record year for tornadoes with a total of 1,709, making it the fourth most deadly tornado year in the United States. The record was set in 2004 with 1,817 tornadoes. The average is 1,300.

A strong La Niña phenomenon last year, with sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific around the equator below normal, produced a very strong jet stream. This is a key ingredient for severe weather.

In the La Niña year, the normal tornado pattern shifts east, causing many twisters to hit from Texas to Kansas, say the forecasters. The phenomenon causes warmer-than-normal Gulf of Mexico waters, like last year, and is expected to be a key component to another active tornado season this year.
This year, the La Niña appears to be weaker which may mean near normal temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific by spring....MORE
Here's NOAA on how the year is shaping up versus the last seven:
U.S. Annual Tornado Trends
Plot of the annual running total of U.S. tornadoes. (Click on image for a full resolution version.)