It’s been the quietest start to a tornado season ever recorded in Oklahoma, one of the nation’s most twister-prone states. But a severe weather outbreak is possible next week.
As of Friday, not a single tornado has been reported in the state so far in 2018. That’s the longest Oklahoma has ever gone without a tornado to start the year, AccuWeather said.
The previous record for the latest start to tornado season in Oklahoma was April 26, which occurred in 1962, the Weather Channel said.
On average, the Sooner State gets 56 tornadoes per year, with May typically the most active month.
Kansas also has not reported any tornadoes in 2018, the National Weather Service reported, but that state’s record earliest tornado was in late May.
And it’s not just Oklahoma and Kansas that have been quiet: Across the U.S., only about 229 tornadoes have been reported in 2018, the Storm Prediction Center said. That’s about 100 fewer than in a typical year.
Warm, humid air is one of the ingredients need for tornadoes to form, and that’s been lacking in the central U.S. this year.
Frequent rounds of chilly air from Canada, thanks to a persistent southward dip in the jet stream over the eastern U.S., helped to keep temperature and humidity surges to a minimum, AccuWeather meteorologist Richard Schraeger said.
— NWS Norman (@NWSNorman) April 26, 2018
But the quiet start could be shattered next week across the region, with the biggest severe storm outbreak of the year likely for parts of the central U.S. that have been spared thus far this season, AccuWeather said.
Severe storms, including the risk of tornadoes, are forecast to blast Oklahoma, Kansas and other parts of the Plains, South and Midwest during the first few days of May.
The Weather Channel calls it “a classic early May setup for severe thunderstorms in the nation’s heartland.”
While storms are possible each day next week, the worst of the weather will likely be Wednesday through Friday.
— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) April 27, 2018