82 NC counties and 1 VA county are under alert, including Wake, Cumberland, Durham, Johnston, and Orange counties. Details
Published: 2008-03-04 13:07:20
Updated: 2008-03-04 13:07:20
Posted March 4, 2008
By Melesio Gutierrez
MIKE MOSS SAYS: Melesio, Unlike hurricane season, which formally begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th, there is no officially designated "tornado season" and tornadoes are at least possible any time of year. Just the same, there certainly are times of the year that tornadoes, and especially violent tornado outbreaks, are more likely than others. In a very general sense, central North Carolina tends to have most of its tornado activity from late winter into spring, with a secondary period of enhanced potential around November.
Some research recently summarized by personnel at the Raleigh National Weather Service Office indicates that the principle period for violent and potentially deadly tornadoes in our region runs from mid February into early May, with another active period in November. There are often some tornadoes from mid-May into June as well, but there is a notable tendency for these to be of the weak (F0 and F1 category) and short-lived variety that are less likely to do major damage or lead to serious injuries and fatalities.
For the country as a whole, the peak tornado period shifts gradually toward the north and west from late winter into mid-summer. For the southern plains into the middle Mississippi Valley, the primary period for strong tornadoes runs about mid-April into early June, while for the northern plains into the upper midwest the best chance of significant twisters is more like June and July. You can see some very nice animations of how the probability of tornado activity (and some other severe weather events) varies with time across the U.S. at this address: