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John Wheeler: November tornadoes are not uncommon in the South

Severe storms and tornadoes are a regular part of the climatology of the southeastern part of the United States in winter.

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FARGO — An outbreak of more than 30 tornadoes caused damage, death and disruption across the Deep South this past week, mostly on Tuesday night. Severe weather outbreaks like this are always unusual in the sense that it is relatively rare in the course of a human lifetime for any location on Earth to be hit by a tornado. However, severe storms and tornadoes are a regular part of the climatology of the southeastern part of the United States in winter.

Actually, the peak season down there is from February through April, but there is a secondary maximum for severe storms in November and December. Although it sounds strange to us northerners, severe storms and tornadoes are rare in the Deep South during summer. Although summer thunderstorms are frequent in Dixie, those storms rarely deliver anything worse than rain and lightning. During late fall and early winter, and again from late winter through the spring, severe weather peaks across the South.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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