CLEVELAND - Northern Ohio is among the nation's leaders in Tornado Warnings in 2014.
Meteorologists like data. Some of it falls under the "Gee Whiz" category. Like the graphic below for number of Tornado Warnings issued by each National Weather Service Office in the United States so far in 2014.
First some context. Each National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWSFO) is responsible for issuing forecasts for designated counties/regions around the country. Our NWSFO, located at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, is staffed by a great group of meteorologists. They are in charge of severe thunderstorm, flash flood and tornado warnings from Erie, Pa in the east all the way to Toledo in the west. From Greater Cleveland in the north, to Canton & Wooster & Youngstown in the south. Its a big area, and those folks do a great job.
Here's what we notice about the above graphic:
First, The Cleveland, Ohio NWSFO ranks #11 in the entire country for tornado warnings this year with 21 since January 1st, 2014. No, we haven't had 21 tornado touchdowns, but we have had a decent amount of severe weather, especially in the last 4 weeks.
Second, the traditional Tornado Alley States of Texas, Oklahoma, & Kansas have had far fewer warnings than usual this year. The Oklahoma City (Norman, OK) Weather Service Office has issued only 7 warnings this year. The Topeka Kansas Office, ZERO warnings in 2014!
Instead, the hotbed regions for tornadoes have been along and east of the Mississippi River. Alabama, Mississippi, and Southern Arkansas have seen the most NWS Warning action.
The reason for the shift in tornadoes out of Tornado Alley? We of course expect an eastward shift during cooler La Nina years. We have also notice that warmer moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico has moved north thru the Mississippi River Valley more this year, instead of through the Central and Southern Plains States. Interesting, indeed.
Here's the TOP 11 TORNADO WARNING AREAS by NWS Forecast Office:
1) Jackson, MS - 65 Warnings
2) Birmingham, AL - 38
2) Memphis, TN - 38
4) Paducah, KY - 33
5) Raleigh, NC - 30
6) Huntsville, AL - 29
7) Denver/Boulder, CO - 27
8) Mobile, AL - 26
9) Springfield, MO - 24
10) Wakefield (Richmond), VA - 23
11) Cleveland, OH - 21
11) Little Rock, AR - 21