Active Severe Season Continues, but Winter's Not Leaving Yet

By: METEOROLOGIST MARK HENDERSON
By: METEOROLOGIST MARK HENDERSON

It's been a horrific day down across portions of Texas, as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms ravaged the northern part of the state, including the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. Along with more than a dozen reports of tornadoes, hail and winds caused their share of damage too! Among the damage reports, 110 aircraft were damaged at DFW airport due to storms, Also at the airport, the storms caused more than 400 departures to be canceled and scores of incoming flights to be diverted.

It marks the continuation of a severe weather season that has gone gangbusters to start the year! Keep in mind, 2011 was off to an extremely active start, with 2,435 severe weather reports including 166 tornadoes by April 1st. This year, we've already more than doubled that pace, with over 3,700 severe weather reports currently in to the Storm Prediction Center!

What's remarkable about Tuesday's North Texas tornado outbreak is that only a dozen or so folks suffered injuries, and as of 10:40pm Tuesday night, there had been NO fatalities reported! It's a testament to the great work by meteorologists at the National Weather Service Forecast Offices and local TV meteorologists there, but most importantly, it's a telltale sign that the public heeded the warnings and sought shelter!

While we're entering what's historically known to be our prime time for severe weather, it's also important to note that winter's still been known to show its ugly head around here at this time, and in many instances, later! Many folks have taken March's extreme warmth to mean that we're done with snow once and for all! Au contraire, my friends! If history is any indication, the prospects of seeing more flakes flying here is better than a coin flip!

In examining 106 previous years of weather records, at least trace of snow (flurries) occurred beyond April 3rd in 60 of those years! That works out to approximately 57%. Furthermore, accumulating snows have occurred with a fair amount of regularity well into April and in some instances, even May! 43% of the past 106 years have seen accumulating snow beyond April 3rd! It's not likely we'll need the shovel again, but don't rule out winter for good just yet!

Lake breezes will govern our weather for at least the next three days here, keeping us near normal temperature-wise in the Rockford Metro, slightly below normal in Eastern reaches of the area, while slightly above normal closer to the Mississippi! It won't be uncommon to see 12°-15° E/W temperature spreads each of the coming days! Meantime, it still looks to be quite chilly at Wrigley for the Cubs opener Thursday! Winds blowing in from Right Field at 8-18 MPH will combine with air temperatures in the mid-40s to create wind chills in the 30s for most of the game!

An abatement of the lake breezes will take place Saturday, as winds temporarily shift to the South, bringing temperatures back into the 60s areawide, though there is a slight PM storm chance in the fold. Easter Sunday, it's back to lake breezes, but back to sun! Models suggest a more potent cold air intrusion into next week, with highs not likely getting out of the 40s by Tuesday! As of right now, we'll keep snow out of the forecast, but there's at least an inkling of evidence out there that suggests a Tuesday flurry isn't to be ruled out! Stay tuned!


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