Weather Trends Lead To Calm April, Lower Extreme Weather Risk For Next Year

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We spent a lot of time this month remembering the storms of last April, so it was easy not to notice that this April turned out storm free.

It's particularly surprising given we're in the heart of severe weather season.

National Weather Service in Huntsville Meteorologist in Charge Chris Darden explains, "Usually this time of year we are in the midst of severe weather here in the southeast.  April is our peak period, and as we get into portions of May we can still see severe weather."

But this spring's weather pattern was more like summer, with high pressure contributing to stability by creating a sinking motion.

Darden says, "When you get sinking motion, you typically get warmer air as the air compresses and it gets pushed down toward the ground.  And you get less clouds, which is also going to produce warmer temperatures."

Of course, we might not get off totally free and clear from this severe weather season.

Darden adds, "I certainly don't think we're necessarily out of the woods for the threat of severe weather.  But having said that, I don't see any signals in the pattern right now that would indicate any large-scale, significant severe weather events in the near term."

Darden also claims we have reason to be optimistic about the future.  He says we are transitioning from a La Nina to an El Nino climate.  That could mean lower risk for extreme weather for the next year, maybe more.

"That typically can mean a little bit lower threat of widespread severe weather," says Darden.  "It doesn't necessarily mean we won't get severe weather, but our biggest severe weather outbreaks historically looking back at the climate record have been related to La Nina patterns in the Pacific."