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May tornadoes: Feast or famine

The month of May is feast or famine when it comes to tornadoes in the Show Me State and so far this month it’s been famine.

In an average year, Missouri will see roughly 30 tornadoes, making it one of the top states to experience severe weather. While we had an active start to the year, so far, May has been quiet.

During a typical May, 12 tornadoes, or just under one-half of all expected during a year, touch down during the month, but so far we’ve seen zero.

We have to go all the way back to the first week of April when we saw our last tornado event in Mid-Missouri. It was an active start to the spring season, with more than 60 tornado reports, which is third in the nation.

Since then, Mid-Missouri has been in a lull when it comes to severe weather. Outside of the flooding we saw that impacted areas late April and into the first few days of May, the weather has been noticeably quiet, so what gives?

A huge reason the quiet pattern has persisted is due to what meteorologist call omega blocking. It’s a large-scale weather pattern that essentially blocks and redirects weather systems away from an area. Lately, that’s what the center of the country has been experiencing and signs are pointing to a similar pattern as we head through the rest of May. If this were to occur and the pattern stays quiet, this month will tie with 2005 as the lowest number of tornadoes ever recorded in the month of May.

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