FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK: TODD YAKOUBIAN
I received a very interesting email from meteorologist John Robinson with the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock.
A few months ago, it was thought El Nino conditions would prevail this winter, but that's not likely to pan out. It's now thought neither El Nino or La Nina will exist. ENSO Neutral is the state of near-normal climate characterized by neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions. Simply put, I call it "La Nothing".
John brought to my attention some research from 2 very well respected meteorologists on the possibilities for an active tornado season starting in January through March. Here's the email
"This brings to mind a paper published in 2008 by Ashton Robinson Cook,
a Little Rock native working on a PhD in meteorology at the University
of Oklahoma, and Dr. Joe Schaefer, who was director of the Storm
Prediction Center for many years. The entire paper can be found on
this SPC Web site: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/publications/
Their paper shows that we are most likely to have winter tornadoes in
our part of the country when ENSO Neutral conditions prevail. (Note
that they defined winter as the months of January, February, and
Two of the graphics from the paper are attached.
The first shows tornadoes occurring on “tornado days” during the
winter ENSO Neutral phase (1950 through 2003). "Tornado days" are
defined as days on which at least 6 tornadoes occurred in the 24-hour
period from Midnight to Midnight. On average, about 3 "tornado days"
occurred each ENSO Neutral winter.
The second shows tornadoes occurring on “strong and violent tornado
days” during the winter ENSO Neutral phase (1950 through 2003).
"Strong and violent tornado days" are defined as days on which at
least 5 tornadoes of F2 or greater intensity occurred in the 24-hour
period from Midnight to Midnight. On average, about 1.75 "strong and
violent tornado days" occurred each ENSO Neutral winter."
Does this mean we will have an active tornado season starting in January? It's tough to say, but based on the research, we better keep an eye on this especially since this year has been so quite. We definitely don't want complacency.