Halfway through the final month in the main storm season, numbers of reports remain well below average. May was active, close to average, but nothing compared to what we saw in 2011. Reports of tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds were down, and that trend continued into June. The lack of a strong jet stream across the central part of the country has offered little opportunity for setups to develop across the plains.
June typically sees a more north and west movement for the main area of concern for storms as the jet stream slides north with setups taking shape over the northern plains from I-70 toward the Canadian border. A few days have seen strong potential in those areas, but it seemed each setup lacked a key ingredient that prevented much bigger days.
The low numbers are good for the public. While May saw no tornado deaths for the first time in a long time, June has seen 3, but that's an extremely low number for a month that is usually fairly active. So far, June has only seen 39 tornadoes with a total of 573 severe weather reports. Again, well below average and the trend looks to continue per the longer range models going into the last week of June.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, the only day to make the top 10 for severe weather reports for the year thus far was the very first day of June. And oddly enough, it was nowhere near the traditional area of Tornado Alley. Of the 39 tornadoes reported so far in June of 2012, 29 occurred on this day, most on the east coast. Since then, only 10 tornadoes have been reported, this storm chaser capturing four in Colorado scattered over a few marginal events during the first 15 days of the month.
With the season winding down, the crowds of storm chasers start to thin as many return to normal lives. Many did so in late May when the pattern wouldn't break. Many chasers compared 2012 to 2006 where very few setups yielded results for chasers. In those six years, the amount of people in the field has grown several times over, but even still, the more eyes in the field don't yield more reports. 2012 remains quiet.
Longer range models indicate some potential next week for the northern plains, but beyond that, a weak flow pattern will again settle in and keep big setups at bay. Forecasters and chasers alike wonder if June will have one big setup in her before she turns the calendar. The odds aren't looking too favorable for chasers, but the public will be relieved that 2012 was not a repeat of the season before.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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