MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Spring time is the prime time for tornadoes in the Mid-South. Tornadoes can happen at any time of the year, but March, April, and May, are the prime months.
Over half of the tornadoes that we see annually in the Mid-South occur in March, April and May. April is the most active, with over 20% of the annual total. The months with the least amount of activity is August and October, with a little over 1.5% of the annual total in both months.
April, May and June are the most active nationwide. We see a drop in tornadoes in June in the Mid-South, thanks to a shift in the jet stream.
Many of the ingredients that aid in tornado formation come together in the spring. Some of those ingredients are a strong jet stream, plentiful moisture, and heat.
The heat and humidity can be the fuel for thunderstorms formation. The jet stream provides wind shear, or the changing wind speed and direction with height, which can help to sustain strong thunderstorms and allow storms to last longer. Meanwhile, the moisture and warm temperatures aid in development too.
While we still have the heat and humidity in June in the Mid-South, the jet stream usually migrates north. The northward shift in the jet stream puts the Plains and Midwest at a greater risk.
There can still be tornadoes in June especially when we get a dip in the jet but according to climatology, our biggest threat in June when it comes to strong storms, are damaging winds.