Posted: Jan 4, 2013 10:19 AM by Meteorologist Matt Elwell
Updated: Jan 4, 2013 1:03 PM
I recently saw an interesting post on Facebook from Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma that graphically shows the progression of all of the severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in the lower 48 states. I've had the opportunity to attend severe weather workshops, listen to lectures on various aspects of severe weather, and talk one-on-one with him on several occasions over the years. He always provides unique and interesting insights to severe weather prediction and emergency preparedness. The graphic that he provided is no exception.
From a weather standpoint, it is interesting to watch the progression of the storm warnings from the south and southeast United States to the north as we head into the summer, but in a very random fashion. There is an obvious trend for fewer severe storms west of the Rockies, although those states still see their fair share of severe storms. The randomness should hammer home the importance to stay in-tune with the weather conditions no matter if you live in tornado alley or, like us, in southwest Montana.
After a little digging, I was able to find some severe weather stats that cover the 2012 severe weather season in Montana. In total there were 313 severe weather reports in 2012 for Montana. Not surprising, damaging wind reports topped the list with 194 cases reported. There were 115 hail reports scattered across the Treasure State, and a total of 4 tornadoes reported (2 in Chouteau County and 2 in Judith Basin County). That is out of a total of 1,066 tornado reports nationwide.
The most active month for severe was weather throughout the nation was July, which was primarily damaging wind reports (4,492). Interestingly, there were only 24 tornado reports in that month. The most active month for tornadoes was April with 233 tornadoes reported, which coincides with the timeframe of when the jet stream is providing the most energy and dynamics for tornadic thunderstorms to form.
For a complete summary of the 2012 storm season just follow this link.