We’re heading into our fall severe weather season



MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – Halloween is fast approaching. November will be here before we know it. That means the holiday season is upon us, yes, but it also means Alabama’s second bad weather season is coming.

March, April and May are prime months for severe weather, including tornadoes, in the Deep South. November and December can also be quite active in the tornado department, but not as active as the spring months.

Since 1950, it has been clear that Alabama has had two different peaks during the year in tornado activity.(WSFA News 12)

November is particularly notorious for bringing bad weather and tornadoes to Alabama. However, November and December are combined into one and referred to as Alabama’s second severe weather season.

Since 1950, November has brought the third highest number of tornadoes to the state with 280. April leads with 555 and March is second with 368. November is ahead of May and well ahead of all other months.

November can be a busy month for tornadoes in Alabama.
November can be a busy month for tornadoes in Alabama.(WSFA News 12)

On average, Alabama sees four tornadoes each November. This average is from the 1950s-2020s, so a very solid sample size. Four may be the average, but there were as many as 36 tornadoes in November; occurred in November 2001.

December is less active, on average, than November, but it can still be active. Alabama sees just over two tornadoes each December when looking at the 1950-2020 averages. In 2012, December brought 19 tornadoes to the state! Almost all of these tornadoes were accompanied by a Christmas Day outbreak that tore through the state.

December can be a busy month for tornadoes in Alabama.
December can be a busy month for tornadoes in Alabama.(WSFA News 12)

If November and, to a lesser extent, December are rather active, it is because of the collision of air masses. Much like spring, the final months of fall bring a collision of warm and cold air to the Deep South. This air mass collision is what spawns not only thunderstorms, but also severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

I can’t tell you what will happen in November and December. I would be very rich if I was able to do that. What I can tell you is that it is important to prepare now for what could happen in the next two months.

This includes reviewing your severe weather plans at work, school, and home. Practicing these plans is also very important. It can’t hurt to practice these severe weather plans a few times. Officials also recommend packing a severe weather kit, testing your NOAA weather radios, making sure you have several reliable ways to get weather information, and familiarizing yourself with severe weather terminology.

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