KKTV - Blogs - Talk Weather

Blame It On La Nina...AND NOTHING ELSE!

Some of you may not have ever heard of Dixie Alley.  I bet you have now...  It isn't found in the Great Plains, but in the southeast part of the US.  This area has some of the strongest tornadoes and some of the deadliest tornadoes on record.  And all of this was before last week...

Since last Wednesday, I've given several different interviews to various people and media outlets about the awful weather that struck The South. Throughout the past week, there has been one common theme. People want to blame what happened in Alabama on something... The Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami, The Magnetic Polar Shift, Global Warming, Climate Change, etc... As a scientist, this is incredibly frustrating. Why? Because had that one tremendous supercell tornado that was on the ground for over 300 miles gone through an unpoplulated area, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Fact is, the storm that was responsible for killing over 300 people and devastating several different communities went on a perfect track to do what it did. People say that tornadoes can't occur where major cities reside or near hills or mountains, etc. Let me be clear about this...given the right conditions, tornadoes can and will occur anywhere.

If somebody wants to blame a particular thing for this violent April, blame La Nina. La Nina is the abnormal cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It consolidates the jet stream energy into one potent stream.

 

Where this stream sets up, amazing storms can and will occur. Where it doesn't set up, amazing drought and wildfires occur. Isn't that what we have seen in the past several months?  Tornadoes, flooding and blizzards along and to the north of the jet stream.  Drought and wildfires to the south of the jet stream.  It is a crazy pattern, but one we last saw during the period from 2007 through early 2009.  Yup, just a couple years ago...

Another contributing factor?  This year, the Gulf of Mexico is warmer than normal due the a lack of hurricane activity in the Gulf last summer and fall. Not due to Global Warming or Climate Change...

 

See all that orange shading in the Gulf?  That is water that is warmer than normal.  Add all the unused fuel in the Gulf with colder than normal temperatures in Canada, and when the two collide, big storms will happen. This isnt something new, this is something that has been happening for a long, long, long time...

Eight out of the top fifteen tornado outbreaks have occurred during La Nina events.

 

Heck, the above graphic is just through 1990!  Throw in the outbreaks during other La Nina years of 2008 and 2011, and La Nina wins in a landslide!  We knew this was going to be an active spring, simply because history has told us so.  NOT, I repeat, NOT because of anything else...

 Google such things as: Super Outbreak 1974, Late May Tornado Outbreak 2004, Super Tuesday Tornado Outbreak 2008, Plains Tornado Outbreak May 2008, La Nina & Tornado Outbreaks, etc. You will find more information that you could ever want, and this is just to get you started. The April 26th and 27th Tornado Outbreak of 2011 will be remembered as one of the deadliest outbreaks in American History. Yup, even with all of our forecasting and warning ability, lots of people can still die if bad storms go through populated areas. EF4 and EF5 tornadoes require that you be below ground to survive a direct hit. Lots of people in The South do not have basements or safe rooms. You throw that fact in with the type of weather that occurred last week, and the recipe is disastrous.

I have no political agenda.  I am but a scientist that has a passion about the science of Meteorology.  There is a lot of bad science reporting out there and a lot of speculation.  Please don't fall prey to it.  Since last week, I have heard too much of this kind of garbage and felt compelled to argue for the truth.  And the truth is, this type of disaster will likely happen again due to three simple facts.  1) Cities are expanding 2) Violent tornadoes sometimes occur 3) And when violent tornadoes hit populated areas, people are unfortunately going to die...

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

Read More Blogs

KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.

If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.

powered by Disqus
KKTV 520 E. Colorado Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Office: (719) 634-2844 Fax: (719) 632-0808 News Fax: (719) 634-3741
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability