Is Texas Going To Have More Tornadoes This Year?

Chelsea Wade
March 01, 2019 - 11:52 am
Tornado

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You've probably seen this floating around on social media: AccuWeather is predicting a higher frequency of tornadoes in Texas this year, or simply put, we're in for a bad season.

Senior Meterologist Paul Pastelok wrote the report for the private weather service. "The big thing about this season is that most of the tornadoes are going to be in the traditional Tornado Alley area compared to what we saw last year and in more recent years," said Pastelok.

A 2018 study suggested Tornado Alley was actually shifting eastward. "What that means is the area that has been getting hit more and more has been east of the traditional Tornado Alley. But this year looks like an exception due to several weather factors that are coming together." Those factors, Pastelok said, include warmer-than-normal water temps in the Gulf of Mexico. "It could have an impact on low level moisture coming out of the Gulf of Mexico and that could lead to more concentrated storms."

But many meteorologists blasted Pastelok's forecast, saying it takes a lot more than warm water temps to produce a tornado. Other forecasters said Pastelok could end up being correct, but not because of his science. "The past two years have been very quiet for tornadoes," said KRLD Chief Meteorologist Dan Brounoff. "So it's not going to take much to make people feel that we're having an active Spring season."

Pastelok defended his predictions. "We do have a methodology to coming up with these forecasts. They're not out of the hat," he said. "This is a forecast. This is a prediction. We do this with snowfall. We do this with temperatures. We do this with a variety of things. In the past, they said no one can predict single number temperatures, yet we do that on every tv and radio station now. They said we can't predict snowfall three months, two months in advance, on average, for certain cities and yet we come pretty close in doing that."

Pastelok forecasts 1,075 tornadoes in 2019, which is up nine percent from the prediction of 987 in 2018. But he said the prediction for this year is still less than the annual average of 1,141 tornadoes.

Online: AccuWeather 2019 Tornado Predictions