Ag Weather Forum

Stormy Indeed to Start 2017

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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The first three months of 2017 feature almost double the average number of tornado reports over the 10-year period 2005-15. (NOAA Storm Prediction Center graphic by Nick Scalise)

Most of the time, our discussion of the impact of weather events is focused on the impact of elements on total crop and food supply. Occurrences of severe weather, many times, have little impact on the totality of crop production. But the volume of severe weather reports so far this year is certainly worth noting. Tornado reporting provides a stark example.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma -- a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) -- recorded an average of 236 tornado reports for the first three months of the calendar year (January-February-March) for the 10-year period from 2005 through 2015. That's a basic average of close to 80 tornado reports a month. But, in 2017, that figure has been surpassed by a country mile and then some.

Through the first three months of this year, the SPC logged 443 tornado reports -- close to double the 2005-2015 average (188%), and amounting to almost 150 tornado reports a month (147.7 to be exact). That is an outrageous leap over the 10-year average.

What is sobering about such a number here at April 1 is this: The wintertime/early spring is usually when tornado reports are at their LOWEST of the season. If it's been this active up to now, what lies in store for the balance of the spring and even into early summer?

A volatile atmosphere may be plugged in for another couple months. I know we'll all be watching at the very least.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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