KMSP - The state of Minnesota is heading through peak severe weather and tornado season and we are all receiving a much deserved break. A couple of severe weather events have pushed through the metro so far this month with gusty winds and hail, but thankfully no tornadoes reported. However, there have been 7 preliminary reports of tornadoes through June 13th, with that number likely to climb because of tornado reports in the middle of the month. The reason for the delay is the overall time it takes for the National Weather Service to assess damage, give the possible tornado a rating, and then summarize and submit their report.
But courtesy of a new website featuring EVERY tornado ever recorded since 1950, we can now understand when peak season is in every part of the country and truly understand why. For Minnesota, peak severe weather season is July, but for tornadoes, it’s actually June… with hail and wind more predominant in July. In the maps above, every colored upside down triangle represents the location of a tornado touchdown, followed by the path length if it’s more than 20 miles. Blue represents EF0s, or the weakest of all tornadoes. Followed by green, which is EF1… yellow as EF2… then strong tornadoes with orange as EF3, red as EF4, and pink as EF5, which is by far the least frequent of all tornadoes accounting for less than .1% of all that occur.
You can see through the course of the year that as temperatures warm, the tornado touchdowns extended further and further north. But what’s also fascinating is that tornadoes are far more numerous across the central US, including Minnesota in May and June than what is seen in July and August. It’s not just a noteworthy drop, it’s a dive in total numbers. This is likely do to the fact that extreme heat is not conducive for tornadic production unless some drier and or cooler air is trying to move in. How many cool July & August days can you remember? Yeah, probably not many. Also interesting to note is that there have never been tornadoes recorded in Minnesota during the winter months of December, January, and February.