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                   Monday, May 14, 2012 - 2:06AM CDT

Storm observing 'microclimatology' tornado stats; Midwest chase probabilities

By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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When it comes to storm observing and tornadoes, I'm a stats/numbers type, simply because I think the data is interesting to look at (particularly now that we're in such a boring pattern this May). 2012 has been a remarkable year for me personally in terms of the huge shift in total tornadoes by state. Kansas has always been my top tornado state by a long shot, with well over half of all of my tornadoes there through 2008. However, in just three seasons, Oklahoma has nearly caught up to Kansas in terms of all-time tornado intercepts. This is thanks to my being in the middle of a 4-year Kansas tornado shutout, while Oklahoma has gone crazy with tornado intercepts (14 in the past 3 years, 10 this year alone!).

Month-wise, May has always been my top tornado month, with June coming in second. However, April is also catching up in that respect, now tied with June for the #2 spot.

Here are some stats:

  • From 2004 to 2008, 26 of the 45 tornadoes I saw (58%) were in Kansas.
  • From 2004 to 2012, 21 of the 63 tornadoes I saw (33%) were in Oklahoma.
  • From 2010 to 2012, 14 of the 18 tornadoes I saw (78%) were in Oklahoma.
State-by-state tornado intercept data breakdowns for three time periods:

2004-2012 Tornadoes: 63
By DAN ROBINSON
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State
By DAN ROBINSON
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Tornadoes
By DAN ROBINSON
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Percentage
By DAN ROBINSON
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Kansas2641%
Oklahoma2133%
Texas817%
Illinois35%
Nebraska12%
Missouri12%
Iowa12%
South Dakota12%
Colorado12%

2010-2012 Tornadoes: 18
By DAN ROBINSON
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State
By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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Tornadoes
By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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Percentage
By DAN ROBINSON
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Oklahoma1478%
Illinois211%
Missouri16%
Texas16%
2004-2008 Tornadoes: 45
By DAN ROBINSON
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State
By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Tornadoes
By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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Percentage
By DAN ROBINSON
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Kansas2658%
Oklahoma716%
Texas716%
Illinois12%
Nebraska12%
Iowa12%
South Dakota12%
Colorado12%

Percentages by month:

2004-2012 Tornadoes: 63
By DAN ROBINSON
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Month
By DAN ROBINSON
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Tornadoes
By DAN ROBINSON
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Percentage
By DAN ROBINSON
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May2844%
April1727%
June1727%
September12%

New Midwest forecast chase probabilities/discussion

I also decided I'd try out adding a new feature to the end of each blog post outlining the probabilities of a Midwest/local storm observation (within 5 hours or so of St. Louis). My definition of a 'chase' is one that involves deep convection (thunderstorms), which includes lightning, hail, tornadoes and thunderstorm-generated winds. In other words, subjects like dust devils, auroras, sunsets and other photography outings are not considered a true 'chase'.

The idea here is similar to the Plains chase probability table, only focused more on the short range. The Midwestern chase probability table will remain a year-round feature, as storm observation days can happen here during any month or season. The forecast discussion following the table may or may not be a regular feature, but I'll include it as much as I can.

Midwest Event Probabilities: The following table outlines the probabilities of a Lower Midwest chase (within 5 hours of St. Louis) happening within a particular time frame:

2012 Midwest Chases - Probabilities beginning May 14
May 14-152%
May 1640%
May 17-1910%

Midwestern storm forecast discussion (Update based on 5/14 00z data): As with the Plains, the lower Midwest should remain mostly quiet for the next week. Low-level moisture slowly improves each day, bringing a very slight chance for isolated thunderstorms each afternoon. However, the lack of mid and upper level flow and the absence of strong surface boundaries will make for very slim storm chances through Tuesday. On Wednesday, a slow-moving (and eventually stalling) cold front could provide some marginally-organized storms somewhere in the region. However, models indicate that these storms should be too marginal to warrant an expedition if they occur outside of the immediate St. Louis area. Should this activity end up affecting the St. Louis metro area, a local lightning expedition after dark is possible Wednesday night. After Wednesday, models show no sign of organized storms in the region that could trigger an expedition.

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