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home : most recent : statewide implications July 27, 2017

7/3/2017 5:17:00 PM
Why Indiana's tornado season started early this year

Meghan Holden, Journal and Courier

The bulk of tornadoes Indiana has experienced so far this year occurred within less than 24 hours.

Between the final hours of February and into the first day of March, 13 tornadoes were reported in southern Indiana near the Ohio River, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That's almost three quarters of the 18 total tornadoes that Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, has counted in 2017. Storm data from the NOAA is only available through March 1.

"That was really a weird one," he said.

The unusually high number of twisters in one day was a strange occurrence, but something else about the severe weather event was unusual — it occurred outside of Indiana's traditional tornado season and nearly a month before spring officially began.

MORE: Climate may be pushing tornado alley into state

The state's peak tornado season is typically between April and June, Scheeringa said. That's because severe weather feeds on the clash and dramatic shift between hot and cool weather, he said, which tends to occur in spring when it begins to warm up.

But in recent years, especially with the mild winters Indiana has had, spring-type weather has started earlier in the year, moving up the peak tornado season.

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