Zooming around with Zoe: Where does US see the most severe weather?


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — We are in the swing of spring and severe weather season across the United States.

Where is the most commonplace to see severe weather this time of year? It’s not Tornado Alley — an area in the central part of the country prone to tornadoes — like you might think.

Severe weather season runs from March through August, meaning there is an increased chance for thunderstorms to include damaging winds, large hail, heavy rain and tornadoes. While the average person might think the best location to see these severe storms would be Oklahoma or Kansas, the highest number of severe weather reports actually come from the Southeast United States.

Severe weather season has started off slower than normal this year, mainly due to the winter storm that affected much of the US in late February. In order to see severe weather, there must be a source of moisture and heat.

As temperatures heat up in the spring, warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico streams into the Gulf Coast states. This adds energy and aids thunderstorm development – more heat equals stronger storms.

This February, Caribbean Sea temperatures were over a degree Celsius above average, which will only support more severe weather.

Drought conditions in the western half of the US continue to worsen, which could help push storms east. Since storms need moisture, and there is a lack of it to the west, the dry air is containing the severe weather threat to the Southeast.

So, the best chance to see serious thunderstorms this time of year during severe weather season is actually in the Southeast, not Central US. Even though we don’t see the highest number of events in North Carolina, please remain weather aware, especially throughout the rest of severe weather season.

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