OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KTVI) - As we move toward the end of 2014, it's time to look back at the year that has been for severe weather. According to experts at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) there has been at least one surprising trend this year.
"As it stands right now, very preliminarily, we are standing right around 850 or so tornadoes. We still have a lot of data to gather, but it may end up being one of the ten quietest years in the modern tornado record era." So says Bill Bunting, the Operations Branch Chief at SPC.
He says the primary reason has been a large-scale weather pattern in the jet stream that is less conducive for severe weather. A large ridge of high pressure along the West Coast and a trough over the eastern United States to be specific.
This trend seems backwards to us in St. Louis where once again in 2014, we've been hit by multiple damaging severe weather outbreak. That said, nationally, the numbers do not lie.
Bunting cautions that just because those numbers are down, people should not let their guard down.
"One storm is all it takes and if it hits your neighborhood it's a really bad year," reminds Bunting.
The big question is what does the future hold?
Bunting explains, “Even with atmospheric conditions like El Nino, it is difficult to predict with certainty how a season will play out. For a tornado to occur it takes a unique set of conditions over exactly the right place at the right time. Those are hard to predict more than a few hours or days in the future. I think our forecast is hope for the best but prepare for the worst that nature can throw our way."