Last Updated: 12:59 AM GMT on May 22, 2013
— Last Comment: 1:01 PM GMT on May 22, 2013
Severe weather outbreak in the South; 2008 the 2nd busiest tornado season
Posted by: JeffMasters, 1:45 PM GMT on December 09, 2008
A major severe weather outbreak is possible today across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and surrounding states, in association with a strong cold front expected to sweep through the region. The Storm Prediction Center has placed portions of Louisiana and Mississippi under the "moderate Risk" category for severe weather today, and supercell thunderstorms with tornadoes are likely today along the cold front. Several tornado warnings have already been issued for Louisiana this morning, though no confirmed touch-downs have been reported yet.
Figure 1. Cumulative tornadoes for 2008, compared to the five most recent years. The confirmed tornado count for 2008 through September is 1600, making it the second busiest tornado season on record. Only 2004, with 1817 twisters, has had more. Image credit: NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
Tornado season update As the end of the year approaches, the tornado season of 2008 has already established itself as the second busiest tornado season on record. The 1600 confirmed tornadoes this year through September are second only to the record 1817 tornadoes recorded in 2004. Reliable tornado records began in 1950, but tornado reports have grown steadily over the years due to an increase in population and an increase in interest and reporting ability. With just a few weeks left in the year, it seems unlikely 2008 will break the record for most tornadoes. The preliminary count for October and November was 46 tornadoes, which means we would need at a minimum 171 tornadoes over the the next three weeks to set a new record. This is pretty unlikely, unless we get a major outbreak today and two additional outbreaks later this month. Tornado deaths so far this year are at 125--the most since 1998, when 130 people died in tornadoes.