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Tornado Season Preview: Delayed But Strong

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The 2013 season was even worse with 82 tornadoes, 25 more than average, according to government statistics. The 2013 season was even worse with 82 tornadoes, 25 more than average, according to government statistics.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Tornado season is right around the corner, and weather experts said Oklahoma may see a delayed start for 2014. However, meteorologists warn that doesn't mean the spring season will stay quiet.

Oklahoma usually sees four to five tornadoes in the month of March, according to National Weather Service (NWS) statistics. Currently, the Sooner State has had zero tornadoes in March of 2014.

It's been nearly 300 days since the NWS issued a tornado warning in Oklahoma. That's a record, according to News 9 Chief Meteorologist David Payne. This year, Payne said the drought and extra dose of cold air from an extended polar vortex are keeping things calm for now.

"That cold air has gone all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico," said Payne. "When you have cooler waters headed northbound, that's going to delay the onset of possibly getting some bigger storms or a lot of severe weather."

3/24/2014 Related Story: Emergency Preparedness Store Opens In NW OKC

History shows a quiet March can go either way for Oklahoma. The last time Oklahoma went without a March tornado was in 2002, according to the NWS. The 2002 season was considered inactive in Oklahoma. However, in 2001, a calm March gave way to more than 60 tornadoes. The 2013 season was even worse with 82 tornadoes, 25 more than average, according to government statistics.

"We had one of the most violent seasons we've ever had in Oklahoma within basically 12 days [of 2013]," Payne said.

For 2014, meteorologists are keeping an eye on the drought covering much of Oklahoma. Depending on where the dry line is located may determine where storms will fire up. Payne said nobody knows exactly when and where Oklahomans will see tornadoes in 2014. The exact severity of the season is also a mystery.

"There's so many parts to this puzzle that are still out there on to exactly what type of spring we're going to have," Payne said.

Even with a delayed tornado season start, the weather in Oklahoma can change in an instant. Do not become complacent!

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