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Beware; it’s tornado season

Published 9:23am Friday, April 15, 2011

Keep an eye on the sky this time of year.

That’s what National Weather Service meteorologists said while statewide tornado drills took place Thursday.

“We’re getting into that time of year, where those are the most active months for severe weather,” said Brad Adams, hydrometeorological technician for the NWS.

Minnesota residents were no strangers to twisters last year, as the state lead the nation in most tornadoes with 145, according to the NWS Storm Prediction Center. Texas, a state associated for its tornado troubles, was behind Minnesota with 105.

While the NWS can’t predict if this year will be the same, meteorologists are certain of one thing: Tornadoes are shifty.

“Things can and do normally change rapidly,” Adams said.

April, May and June are the times when most severe weather occurs, Adams said. Part of that is due to warm and cool air systems coming together, which is what happened last weekend when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through parts of Iowa and Wisconsin, barely missing Minnesota.

Mower County got its share of the storms last Saturday, when a cold front met a warm, moist air system, which had heated temperatures up for a couple days.

“It was pretty much all the ingredients we needed,” Adams said.

There shouldn’t be weather like that for the next week or so, as a new cold front has moved in, dropping temps below April averages.

A twisted day?

June 17 has produced devastating tornadoes for two straight years in southern Minnesota.

•In 2009, the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center sustained tree and roof damage and storms damaged Austin homes, especially on the north end of town.

•In 2010, tornadoes destroyed and damaged homes west of Austin and near Hollandale.

Top 10 tornado days
1. June 17: 115
2. April 24: 77
3. June 5: 67
4. Oct. 26: 58
5. June 21: 43
6. May 1: 42
7. June 10: 42
8. April 22: 40
9. May 18: 38
10. April 30: 31

Source: National Weather Service data released in December

2010 tornado season
Top 10 States
1. Minnesota: 145
2. Texas: 105
3. Kansas: 94
4. Mississippi: 75
5. Oklahoma: 73
6. North Dakota: 68
6. Wisconsin: 68
8. Colorado: 66
9. Missouri: 58
10. Illinois: 57