Forecasters are warning that parts of the country’s mid-section could be hit by severe weather this weekend and even into early next week. There is a high chance of severe weather developing in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa on Saturday and Sunday and in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan on Sunday through Monday. The weather could bring anything from large 1 to 3 inch hail to heavy downpours of rain, thunderstorms and even tornadoes.
The reason conditions are ripe for severe weather is because there is a low pressure system moving its way east from the Rockies which is combining with warm, moist air being drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico. And, because temperatures are above normal in some areas of the country such as the lower Plains, conditions are optimal for the development of very severe weather.
Wednesday’s deadly swarm of tornadoes that struck northern Texas, claiming six lives and demolishing dozens and dozens of homes were caused by atmospheric factors just like those mentioned above. Northern Texas was experiencing very warm weather and when that mixed with the low pressure moving in from the Rockies and the warm, moist air being pulled up from the Gulf, conditions were just right for tornadoes. In all, sixteen twisters were spotted with the one that caused the most devastation being a nasty E4 which means it packed winds of up to 200 miles per hour.
North Texas is now in recovery mode following the tornado strike that wiped out entire neighborhoods and killed six. In Granbury, residents spent all day Friday sifting through piles of household items, clearing fallen trees and helping neighbors piece their lives back together after the ferocity of the week’s tornadoes. Many residents of Granbury have been told they cannot re-enter their homes to check what’s left for at least a few days and maybe even up to a week.
While the tornado season in the US got off to a slow start this year, following this week’s activity in northern Texas, it appears that the 2013 season will get back on track. Now’s the time for people to be reminded to always pay attention to weather watches and warnings because a tornado can form very quickly, catching people totally off-guard.