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Breakdown: Why May is the most active month for tornadoes

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 2:17 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In the Mid-South we all know that spring means severe weather. The main months for spring tornadoes in the Mid-South is April, May, and June. During hurricane season, there is an exact day for the peak of hurricane season which is September 10 but the date for the most tornadoes is not as familiar to most. Spring usually means the arrival of temperatures becoming warmer and the battle between the warm spring temps and cold winter temps begin and can signal danger as the severe weather threat increases for severe thunderstorms and twisters.

Since 1950, there has been a record kept of all tornadoes. This reports are documented by the National Weather Service (NWS) The research showed half the tornadoes occurred in just 3 months, the months being April, May, and June. The reason why these months are more tornado prone is because the ingredients for powerful storms and large twisters come together frequently during these months.

We do have times in April where tornado activity spikes but the busiest month for tornado activity is May. According to research the U.S. gets 22% of its yearly total in May. In addition, May also features the seven-day average peak of tornado season which happens between May 19 and May 26. About 6% of all tornado reports on record have occurred during this seven-day period. The single date with the most tornado reports is May 25

May 25th is the day with the highest number of tornado reports, which is 649 tornadoes between 1950 and 2020. Scientist say that the date could change in the future when newer data is added to the Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) database. However, at least one tornado has been reported on May 25 every year since 2004. Not only is May 25th the busiest day for tornadoes also some of the strongest tornadoes, EF5 tornadoes, have occurred on this date. According to the National Weather Service, most recently, in 2008 an EF5 tornado ripped a 43-mile-long swath through Iowa, injuring 70 and killing six.

Tornado Safety Tips

  • Be Weather-Ready: Check in with the Action News 5 First Alert Weather team for forecast regularly to see if you’re at risk for severe weather. Listen to local Stay informed about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings or tornado watches and warnings
  • Sign Up for Action News 5 First Alert Weather App Notifications: Have several ways to receive communications, don’t rely solely on outdoor sirens.
  • Create a Plan of Action: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don’t forget pets if time allows.
  • Prepare Your Home: Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.

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