2013 Spring Forecast: Tornado Threat Returns And Drought Worsens

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

AccuWeather issues a spring outlook for the U.S. every year, focusing on the major highlights of the season. AccuWeather's long-range forecasting team is predicting that winter will hold on the longest, into March, across the Northeast and Northwest.

A near-normal tornado threat may be in store this spring, especially across the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys.

Another warm spring is expected across the Plains and Rockies, with worsening drought conditions across the hardest-hit areas.

Extreme and exceptional drought conditions are gripping Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and portions of Texas.

More Winter, Late-Season Snowstorms
Winter may stick around for six more weeks across the Northeast and Northwest, no matter what prognostication Punxsutawney Phil makes on Groundhog Day.

"I think we could still see some late-season winter storms [in the Northeast]," AccuWeather lead long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

A couple of winter storms may impact the Northeast during February and March. The potential exists for snow along the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York City and Boston. This is not unusual for the region. As Mr. Pastelok noted, "Typically, February to March is the season on the East Coast." Historically, some large winter storms such as the Blizzard of '93 have struck the East Coast during March.

Snowfall will not be accompanied by the arctic cold that has been gripping the region this January, but more seasonable cold is predicted. Temperatures may be near to slightly below normal in the Northeast during February and March. While the spring will start out cooler and unsettled in the Northeast, milder weather may arrive by April and May.

Meanwhile, AccuWeather long-range meteorologists predict a return to a stormier pattern in the Northwest similar to early in December. Snowfall could impact travel through the heavily traveled mountain passes of the Northwest such as Snoqualmie Pass along I-90 in Washington, while rain dampens the I-5 corridor from Seattle to Portland.

Tornado Threat Returns
The number of tornadoes is predicted to be near-normal this spring. The average number of tornadoes per year in the U.S. is around 1,300, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Typically, April and May have the highest occurrence of tornadoes.

"Severe weather season this year will be different from last year," Pastelok said. "I think it is going to be a more typical start. Late March into April we'll get going, especially over the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys. But not like last year where we started very early in the season." Last year, unusual warmth during the winter allowed a quick start to the severe weather season during January and February.

Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi are among the states that will be in the battlegrounds for severe storms this spring. Later in the season, severe storms may reach the Ohio Valley at times, including Kentucky and southern portions of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Cincinnati and Evansville, Ind., will be among the cities at risk later in the season.

Spring Warmth Still Strong, Not as Widespread as Last Year
The AccuWeather long-range forecasting team believes this spring could rank in the top-ten warmest for the U.S. again; however, the warmth will not be as widespread or as extreme as last year.

"The core of warmth for the spring is going to center itself in the dry areas, the western Plains, east-central Rockies, maybe extending down into the Southwest mid- to late-season," Pastelok said.

Drought to Worsen for Hardest-Hit Areas
Drought conditions may worsen across portions of the Plains and Rockies this spring.

"Unfortunately for the western Plains and eastern Rockies, I think the drought is going to persist, and it is going to be strong going into the springtime," Pastelok said. "In the heart of the drought, it doesn't look good right now."

With dry and warm weather persisting, the stage will be set for dangerous fire conditions by the summer.

"This could be devastating, especially for people in the agriculture industry," AccuWeather long-range meteorologist Mark Paquette said.

Farther north, beneficial rain may fall during April across portions of the Upper Midwest, including Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Some improvement with the Mississippi River flow is possible, but a full turn-around of the situation is not anticipated, according to Pastelok.


Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills

Here are the latest no bills and true bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: BLALARK, REMONDA MICHELLE B 46 F 0 1 GS 1379551 FORGERY FAVORS III, JAMES DURAND B 23 M 0 1 GS 1572161 FALSE IMPRISONMENT GRIFFITH, CHELSEA W 23 F 0 1 GS 1571966 THEFT OF PROPERTY (OVER $100,000) JONES, KATURA MONEAK B 30 F 0 1 GS 1546749 AIDING & ABETTING (ESCAPE ... (click for more)

Crime Stoppers: Burglary At Pak Rat Self Storage

Crime Stoppers and the Chattanooga Police Department are seeking information on a business burglary that occurred at the Pak Rat Self Storage on Saturday. The white male suspect entered the storage complex, broke into several units and took a trailer along with other items. If anyone has any information regarding the suspect in this burglary, they should call Crime Stoppers. ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)

'Canes Edge Mustangs On Cox's Game-Winner In 7th

  Maybe it was just East Hamilton’s turn to win a tight game. After dropping 5-4 and 2-1 decisions to District 5-AAA rivals Bradley Central and McMinn County, respectively, the Hurricanes weren’t about to lose their third straight one-run decision in league play on Tuesday. So, Kyle Cox and Matt Milita, two of the team’s five seniors, decided to do something about ... (click for more)

Central Scores Early, Hangs On To Beat Red Bank, 7-6

Central baseball coach Glen Carter could finally breathe a sigh of relief. His Purple Pounders had bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings of Monday's 6-AA skirmish with the Red Bank Lions and things were looking pretty good for those guys in purple. But it all came down to Red Bank's final at-bat.  The Lions sent eight hitters to the plate and scored ... (click for more)