We’re heading into our fall severe weather season
November and December feature an uptick in severe weather and tornadoes
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Halloween is just around the corner. November will be here before we know it. That means holiday season is upon us, yes, but it also means Alabama’s second severe weather season is arriving.
March, April and May are the primary months for severe weather, including tornadoes, in the Deep South. November and December can also be pretty active in the tornado department, though not as active as the spring months.
November especially is known for bringing severe weather and tornadoes to Alabama. However, November and December are grouped into one and referred to as Alabama’s secondary severe weather season.
Since 1950, November has brought the third-most tornadoes to the state with 280. April leads the way with 555 and March is second with 368. November is ahead of May and well ahead of every other month.
On average, Alabama sees four tornadoes each November. That average comes from looking at the years 1950-2020, so a very solid sample size. Four may be the average, but there have been as many as 36 tornadoes in November; that occurred back in November 2001.
December is less active, on average, than November, but it can still be active. Alabama sees just over two tornadoes every December when looking at the 1950-2020 averages. Back in 2012, December brought 19 tornadoes to the state! Nearly all of those tornadoes came with a Christmas Day outbreak that ravaged the state.
The reason why November and to a lesser degree December are rather active is because of the collision of air masses. Just like in the spring, the late fall months bring a collision of warm and cold air to the Deep South. This air mass collision is what spawns not just thunderstorms, but severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
I can’t tell you what’s going to happen this November and December. I’d be very rich if I was able to do that. What I can tell you is that it’s important to prepare now for what could happen over the next couple of months.
That includes going over your severe weather plans at work, school and home. Practicing those plans is very important as well. It can’t hurt to practice those severe weather plans multiple times. Officials also recommend preparing a severe weather kit, testing your NOAA weather radios, ensuring you have multiple reliable ways to get weather information, and brushing up on severe weather terminology.
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