NORMAN — There were more tornadoes in Oklahoma in April of last year than in any April on record dating to 1950: a total of 52.
The previous record was 50 tornadoes in April the previous year 2011.
Oklahoma's average number of tornadoes for April is 11, but the state has averaged 51 April twisters in the last two years.
Should that create heightened concern for what is to come? No. This is Oklahoma, and weather seldom remains the same. Also, two years is hardly a substantial pattern. Most importantly, instead of being fearful, the best approach is to be prepared, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service, Norman.
While Oklahomans are preparing, meteorologists will be doing the same. The latter do so working with local emergency managers and others to provide storm spotters training.
In the office, meteorologists practice emergency procedures and severe weather procedures. Plus, they use a weather event simulator to sharpen their detection and warning skills with radars and other meteorological sensor systems such as the Oklahoma Mesonet and satellites.
Time has proved that there is a favorable environment through this part of the nation for big and damaging storms.
That's why the National Weather Service prepares for when severe weather occurs, not if.
Tornadoes have been recorded in every month in Oklahoma. However, the most active traditionally is May, followed by April, then June.
The Rocky Mountains funnel cold, dry air from Canada into this state. That air mixes with warm, moist air traveling north from the Gulf of Mexico. If the conditions mix with a southern-dipping jet stream providing upward vertical motion, tornadoes are possible.
Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, said Oklahomans' safety plans should include multiple ways to stay safe, depending on the circumstances.