Tornadoes still a threat in East despite unusually calm weather

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – With cooler weather now here to stay, probably the last thing on your mind is severe weather. But fall in the Southeast is often known as a second severe weather season.

“The fall is a time where you can have those outbursts of severe weather,” said Scott Curtis, a professor at ECU’s Department of Geography. “So, we always need to be vigilant about those times that could potentially produce a tornado.”

But this fall has been unusually quiet.

“A really quiet November and even in October it was rather quiet and these sort of things happen,” Curtis said. “Tornadoes are very random events that occur in severe thunderstorms.”

With the calendar now flipped over to the month of December, you might be tempted to think that the season is all but over. But what looks to be a more active couple of weeks could change that.

“A lot of times we get lulled into complacency because we haven’t had a lot of tornadoes in the country and we’ve had pretty much dry weather,” said Curtis. “So, we don’t think about the other hazards that can happen, and it doesn’t take much for a thunderstorm to appear and a tornado to appear.”
The threat for tornadoes does tend to back off through the month of December. But “if there is a tornado watch, you want to take that as seriously now as you would in the spring,” said Curtis.

Tornadoes can happen any time of the year in the East. And with a fall that’s been anything but typical, remaining vigilant is key.

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