Tornado season in the United States varies. Tornadoes can happen at any time of year, even for places that typically experience snowy winters. Generally, the southern United States encounter severe weather events earlier than the northern states. That begins around March. Going northward into the north, the tornado season starts about a month later, lasting into June.
To understand peak season for tornadoes, people need to keep in mind that location is important. The Rocky Mountains is less likely to experience tornadoes because of the rugged terrains, and that goes the same for the Appalachians in the eastern United States. Tornadoes tend to develop on places that are flat. People also need to understand how tornadoes develop, which begin as funnel clouds.
The Deep South
The Deep South consists of states like Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Here, the tornado season is from March to May. The Deep South is known for high humidity in the spring and summer, which helps support development of tornadoes. These twisters are often associated with cold fronts that sweep through, or they might come in “super cells,” or mesocyclones.
Tornado occurrences in Florida are usually associated with thunderstorms and tropical storms or hurricanes. Thunderstorms tend to “pop up” throughout the state, and they are more frequent in the summer, roughly from June through September. This is caused by daytime heating, with the high humidity in place. Tornadoes have been reported within these thunderstorms, but they are often short lived and weak.
The Great Plains is a flat, wheat-producing region, extending from Texas into Canadian provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan. The southern half of the Great Plains is home to the Tornado Alley, a nickname given because of the high frequency of tornadoes there. The usual formation of tornadoes begins as funnel clouds. The more violent tornadoes are usually from super cells, and they are common for the Great Plains. Tornado season arrives early in the spring as far south as Texas, and it comes later around May or June heading northward into the Dakotas.
The Midwest tornado frequency is nearly the same with the Tornado Alley. For the states east of the Great Plains and into the Great Lakes region, the tornado season lasts from May into June. Thanks to a series of frontal systems that spawn severe weather, tornadoes are quite frequent for the Midwest, especially Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.
While it appears that much of the tornadoes in the United States occur during the spring and summer months, they can still happen any time. So it’s a good idea to learn what to do in case they strike. Taking cover at the lowest level of a building and having emergency supplies are a good way to stay safe. Weather can change rapidly, and staying abreast of it helps save lives.