We all remember April 2011 all too well in Alabama. Several significant tornado outbreaks affected the state bringing loss of life and property. April 2011 set records for the most tornadoes in a single month in Alabama. The weather pattern last year consisted of a moderate La Nina, which allowed the jet stream to flow across the state providing wind energy for the storms. Not only that, an early start to spring led to significant warmth and moisture to add fuel to those storms. The result...numerous tornado outbreaks with an unusually high number of strong, long-tracked tornadoes.
This year is different. La Nina has weakened and neutral ENSO conditions exist in the Pacific. An atmospheric blocking pattern over the north Atlantic has allowed the jet stream that was over our area last year, shift northward into the Great Plains and Ohio Valley. This is where the concentration of severe weather has been over the past few weeks instead of farther south. Meanwhile, summer-like weather has prevailed across our area with abnormally warm temperatures and relatively quiet and dry conditions. No tornadoes were confirmed in Alabama last month, the first time since 2004 that this occurred. The ingredients just weren't there to produce the violent weather we saw last year.
Here's to it staying quiet through the month of May!
Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley