Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, chatted with readers Wednesday about severe weather and preparation. Read the complete chat transcript here.
Although we think of May as the primary tornado month, hasn't there been a lot of tornadoes in April the last two years?
Yes, the last two Aprils have been very busy for tornadoes. In 2012, we had 53 tornadoes, the most tornadoes ever in April. And in 2011, we had 50. That's almost our annual total.
What is the severe weather outlook for this tornado season?
That's always a tough question, and honestly it's impossible to say. If we stay in the pattern we've been in over recent weeks, we'll have storm systems moving close by and any one of those could produce severe weather. Next week looks like it could get a little busy starting on Monday. But the bottom line is we don't know how many tornadoes we'll have, but I can guarantee we'll have them. Everyone just needs to prepare for one tornado.
Do the long-range models show an active spring?
Our models don't look out past 10-14 days, but it does look like next week could be active.
How much more rainfall is needed locally to ensure we are drought free?