The outbreak of dozens of tornadoes in Iowa last month was very unusual, but one weather expert says it may be a sign of what lies ahead.
Doug Kluck, climate services director for the Central Region of the National Weather Service, says, “The likelihood of tornadoes in December and January and other, if you will, off-season severe weather, is and will be enhanced in the future,”
Kluck adds that the massive and rare derecho storms like the one on December 15th may be connected to a changing climate. Kluck notes that, “the regional National Weather Service office in Kansas City has seen changes to the traditional storm track with the center of tornado alley moving further east, out of the Great Plains and such, and along with severe weather in other parts of the year, one could be led to that conclusion, to some degree.”
Parts of Iowa saw record high temperatures in the 70s prior to the storm’s arrival on December 15th and the warm air collided with a cold front, bringing exceptionally strong straight-line winds and multiple damaging tornadoes. Minnesota recorded its first-ever December tornadoes that same day.
The derecho was Iowa’s second in two years, spinning off 43 tornadoes in the state, a single-day record, including EF1’s in Rudd and near Marble Rock and EF2’s in Franklin and Cerro Gordo counties. The same system produced 18 twisters in Nebraska and six in Minnesota.
*story supplemented with information from RadioIowa.com