EASTERN CAROLINA - April usually brings more than 150 EF1 or stronger tornadoes to the nation, this year we have only seen 20. This adds to what could be the quietest start to tornado season on record.
Records from the Storm Prediction Center known as SPC in Norman, Oklahoma prove 2014 has had the lowest tornado count in at least 60 years. By looking at early records, scientists with SPC say this could be the quietest severe weather season in almost 100 years.
Tornadoes have also been weak this year too. All eyes were on the Belhaven tornado when it struck in early April. It was rated an EF 2 but if it would have been quantified as an EF 3 it would have been the first of the season. Scientists say this is rare. In fact this is the fourth longest time frame the nation has gone without seeing an EF 3 or higher tornado.
The lack of tornadic activity is related to the harsh winter that occurred in the eastern U.S.. Blasts of cold air brought by polar vorticies quashed storms that need warm, moist air to develop and form tornadoes.
Perhaps the best news in relation to the suppressed tornado count is the fact that not a single person has died because of a tornado yet this year. Experts say this hasn't happened since 2002.
A quiet start to the year doesn't mean 2014 will end quiet. Cold blasts caused by different polar vortex intrusions will be less impactful in the summer. Scientists are also looking at the potential formation of a phenomenon known as El Nino. This occurs when the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean are warmer than usual. This can often shift where tornadoes are likely to form nation wide.
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