How much longer can it stay this quiet?

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How much longer can it stay this quiet?  It would be nice if we never had to contend with tornadoes again; however, it’s just a matter of time before severe storms rumble through again in the right environment to end the quiet period.

Counties in Alabama and Tennessee served by NWS Huntsville

Counties served by NWS Huntsville

In 2015, were 10 total tornadoes in the National Weather Service Huntsville’s County Warning Area.

Most of those (six) happened in an odd time of the year: July.  The strongest occurred near Waterloo on December 23rd: EF-2 intensity.

(MORE: NWS statistics on Tennessee Valley tornadoes in 2015)

Tornado “count” aside, the number of Tornado Warnings has really trailed off in our corner of the world recently.  After the big peak in 2011, look how the numbers drop from 2012 to 2015.

2005-2015 Tornado Warnings from NWS Huntsville

2005-2015 Tornado Warnings from NWS Huntsville

On top of that, the NWS Huntsville has only had to trigger 15 Tornado Warnings in the past 561 days (1 year, 6 months). I can’t recall a period much quieter than the current one in this particular area. It’s been close to us on all sides, but this part of the map hasn’t had to deal with it that much.

We have known for quite some time that there is a relationship between El Niño conditions and less tornado activity in Alabama and Tennessee (not “no activity at all” – just less over-all activity).

In the short-term, there is no real threat of any severe weather. If anything, we’ll have a chance of some frost and/or a light freeze over the weekend and into Monday of next week.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology Niño ensemble forecast

Australian Bureau of Meteorology Niño ensemble forecast

Later in the week, there is some chance that a potent storm system could bring some strong storms to the region. It’s way too soon to know at this point, but we will circle next Thursday on the calendar and watch how it all progresses.  Keep track of the forecast at WHNT.com/Weather.

There are some signs that we’ll be headed toward neutral or potentially La Niña conditions in the Pacific next year; if we go to La Niña, then that might be the beginning of another more active period in the not-so-distant future.

In the meantime, you know it won’t be this way forever, so make sure you’re ready for the day things get rough again!

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-Jason
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