Experts Predict U.S. Headed to Above-Average Tornado Season
Weather forecasters are weighing in on the upcoming spring tornado season in the U.S. Spoiler alert: it’s not looking good.
These atmospheric scientists predict near to above-average tornado activity. That’s for much of the central and eastern U.S.
Even “near average” is concerning. But “above average” is even scarier. Especially considering what happened last year.
As of today, well before spring, the U.S. has already been hit by 129 tornadoes in 2020. They’ve resulted in eight deaths, thousands without power, and some pretty considerable property damage.
2019 Prediction Was Right On
Forecasters are also saying something else. That the peak periods of tornado activity could ramp up earlier this year than previously.
Victor Gensini is a professor of atmospheric sciences at Northern Illinois University. Last year he predicted 2019’s record tornado onslaught – four weeks before it started.
He says he’s leaning toward an above-average tornado season in 2020: “If the current pattern doesn’t change significantly, we could be up for… periods of intense activity, followed by shutdowns,” he said.
AccuWeather is also predicting an above-average number of tornadoes in 2020. They call for more than double the average of tornadoes in March and an average number of tornadoes in April and up to 30 percent more tornadoes in May.
Taking Warnings Seriously
Gensini and other weather forecasters hope their predictions are taken seriously by emergency managers.
He said, “FEMA could benefit in moving around assets or resources. Insurance groups could model potential losses.
“These forecasts are targeted toward… the folks that are sort of spreading the message and creating a weather-ready nation.”
The average American is also interested in these predictions. They’re a good reminder for folks to prepare.
Last Year’s Record-Breaking Season
Everyone hopes for a less active tornado season than last year’s. In 2019, Oklahoma and Mississippi established records for most tornadoes. The U.S. broke a 39-year-old record with 12 consecutive days of eight or more reported tornadoes.
The deadly system that hammered America’s heartland began in Texas. It then headed northeast before turning sharply toward the East Coast.
Tornadoes threw cars off roads, ripped down power lines leaving thousands without power and trapped people in buildings.
One tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri even stayed on the ground for 20 minutes. With winds reaching 120 miles per hour.
Power Off, Flashlights On
In Ohio, residents said the tornadoes felt like an earthquake. They described the resulting carnage as a “war zone.”
Roofs were ripped off buildings, trees were snapped like twigs and cars were strewn about the landscape.
Millions of people were left in the dark due to those vicious tornadoes. In some areas, the only lights seen were from flashlights as people inspected the damage at night.
School years were actually ended early in certain regions. Due to school buildings being damaged or leveled.
How to Prepare for Tornado Season
We can hope and pray that 2020 will not bring the same kind of tornado devastation that 2019 did. But there’s no way to know for sure.
That's why it's important to know what to do and prepare in advance to make sure you're ready at a moment's notice.
Here are a few ways you can prepare. Regardless of whether you're at home or the office:
- Make sure your homeowner’s coverage is up to date and that it covers extreme weather damage.
- Have bug-out bags ready for each family member.
- Have at least 72 hours' worth of non-perishable food and water stockpiled.
- Locate the nearest shelters in case you need to bug out.
- Have flashlights and extra batteries ready.
- Have a generator on hand, powered up and ready to go.
- Have an emergency, hand-crank radio available.
- Know how to shut off your home's gas line, electricity and water line.
- Keep your vehicle's gas tank as full as possible at all times.
Once a tornado passes, you're not out of the woods yet. Most people who suffer post-tornado injuries get hurt while trying to clean up debris. Also be aware of downed power lines, ruptured gas lines and damaged structures.
Don't Wait Until the Next Tornado to Act
Tornadoes are horrific. Plain and simple. They have the ability to create massive amounts of damage, injuries and deaths in just a matter of a few minutes.
And sadly, they are occurring stronger and more frequently than ever before.
The best thing you can do for you and your family is to have a plan in place and supplies ready before the next one hits.
An obvious choice to help with power outages is to have a generator on hand.
But if that generator runs on gas, there could be a bigger problem than not having power.
That's why we recommend using a solar generator instead.
You can use it to run kitchen appliances. Power your personal or medical devices. Or light up a room with an LED light string... for weeks at a time.
There is no worry about running it inside your house because it does not produce fumes like a gas generator.
And it recharges using only the power of the sun, so you don't have to worry about gas shortages either.