David's Tornado Forecast: Severe Weather Outlook For 2021

Wednesday, March 31st 2021, 5:16 pm
By: David Payne


It's already been an active spring across Oklahoma. We've already had some tornadoes out there and some severe weather. We've been analyzing the data, and here's exactly what we think will happen:

Let's look back at last year. We had 39 tornadoes for the entire year of 2020. That is well below the average of 56 tornadoes throughout the year. Our big month last year was May. We had 16 tornadoes. In April, we had 15 tornadoes. That was a little above average in April and below average in May. Again, last year it was good because we were below average. Now, during an average spring, May is our big month at 24 tornadoes, 12 in April and four in March. In June, we average about seven tornadoes but 83 percent of our yearly tornadoes occur during these four months.

So here's what's going on to the West. It's all about the water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. We have colder water in the North, warmer water in between, and colder water to the South. That's going to play a key role with our weather coming up. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico, they're warm to well-above average as you move farther, deeper into the Gulf of Mexico and farther South. That warm, moist air is going to be ripping North as we get into the spring months.

Talking about the drought situation -- it's bad. The drought is raging to our west. Hopefully, we can put a dent in that but right now the drought continues to somewhat build into parts of central and southern Oklahoma. We need some moisture out there. If the drought continues to build and it gets worse, we're going to have less severe weather.

So my Spring Forecast for precipitation is this: above average rainfall to the east of Oklahoma, below average to much below average to our west. Oklahoma is divided down the middle. I-35 and eastward, average rainfall. I-35 westward right now below average and much below average out in western Oklahoma, Texas and the Oklahoma panhandles.

My temperatures forecast is this: above average for a good chunk of the country, much above average in the West where the drought continues to build out there. A little cooler in the North but all in all in Oklahoma, a warm spring from month to month and just a bit warmer in the West.

So what about my severe weather forecast? I think most of the severe weather, at least the big, big time severe weather will be to the east of Oklahoma. We're still going to be in it. We're going to have an active spring from Kansas into Oklahoma down into Texas. The most active areas will be in eastern Oklahoma into Missouri, into Arkansas. Again if the drought lessens, we'll go ahead and back this up just a bit but right now, it's still a very active spring for Oklahoma.

So coming up, this is the way it looks -- above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation just by a little bit. As for tornadoes, I think we'll be just slightly above average with a shortened spring season. Not quite as long of a severe weather season. We'll have a few high-end severe/tornado days, a couple of outbreak days. We've got to watch out for that. Remember, it only takes one tornado. As always, we have the largest team of storm trackers and meteorologists are here no matter what types of crazy weather we see this upcoming spring.

Stay with News 9, we'll keep you advised.