Severe Weather Preparedness: Hazardous weather comes in all forms in the Wabash Valley

WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) – Hazardous weather comes in all forms here in the Wabash Valley and as the winter months melt away, our threat of snow storms and extreme cold shifts to thunderstorms and tornadoes.

While severe weather is possible any time of year, Illinois and Indiana see the highest probability of destructive storms in the spring months, April through June.

Looking back at last year, severe weather season was delayed due to colder-than-normal temperatures coming out of winter.

But, Dr. Earnest Agee of Purdue University, states that is just because the transition from winter to severe season is slower, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re out of the woods when it comes to an active weather pattern.

“It’s going to be tornado season and it’s delayed this year…there’s only been two tornado watches issued for the nation so far this year and we’re into March,” he explained. “So it’s delayed this year but I would not conclude that means we’ll have a weak tornado season… I think in 2011 it was somewhat the same way. It was delayed due to some cold and then we had a really record outbreak in 2011.”

This is why it is important to not let your guard down.

In an average year, Indiana sees around 10 to 15 tornado days, which is any day that one or more tornadoes are reported. Last year, Indiana had 28 confirmed tornadoes, but only eight in the central Indiana region.

Tornadoes mainly come from single cell thunderstorms, called super cells, or lines of storms known as squall lines.

While a line of storms has a higher potential of impacting more people, it is the super cell storms we have to pay closer attention to for one dangerous reason.

“The super cell has the ability to make a more severe, violent tornado,” Agee continued. “And that’s what you see in all these major outbreaks. Joplin was a super cell, El Reno, Moore (OK)… super cells. I don’t like super cells.”

Dr. Agee stressed to us that while central Illinois and Indiana are impacted more by squall lines than super cells, it’s important to keep in mind that small probability events happen all the time.

That’s why having a plan in place, well in advance, could potentially save your life and property in times of severe weather.

An average of 76 tornadoes occurs annually between Indiana and Illinois.

Severe Weather Preparedness week continues with Storm Team 10’s Kevin Orpurt on Wednesday tomorrow night with a look back at the deadliest tornado in recorded history that tracked right through Indiana and Illinois 90 years ago.

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