Mary­land has al­ready seen five tor­na­does this year

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - MARYLAND - By Scott Dance

Tor­na­does con­firmed in Howard and Fred­er­ick coun­ties on Thurs­day were the fourth and fifth in Mary­land this year, two more signs that this is one of the most ac­tive se­vere weather sea­sons in years, both lo­cally and na­tion­ally. They fol­lowed a mod­er­ate tornado in the Clarksvill­e area May 23, and weak tor­na­does in Monk­ton and Fed­er­als­burg in April.

Al­ready, this year is Mary­land’s most ac­tive for tor­na­does since 2013 — the last in a string of three years in which the tornado tally hit dou­ble dig­its, with as many as 18 in 2011. Across the coun­try, there have been more than 1,000 tor­na­does so far in 2019 — third-most since 2005, be­hind only 2008 and 2011, ac­cord­ing to the Storm Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter.

May was a par­tic­u­larly ac­tive month, and potentiall­y record-set­ting. There were at least eight con­firmed tor­na­does across the coun­try ev­ery day for 13 con­sec­u­tive days, ac­cord­ing to Ac­cuWeather.com, one of the long­est such streaks of se­vere weather on record. And there were more than 500 pre­lim­i­nary tornado re­ports dur­ing the month. Af­ter each is in­ves­ti­gated, the fi­nal count for the month could sur­pass a record of 414 set in May 2015, Ac­cuWeather me­te­o­rol­o­gists said.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists say the flurry of cy­clones is the re­sult of an ac­tive weather pat­tern in which the jet stream buck­les over the United States, cre­at­ing what they call ridges of high pres­sure and troughs of low pres­sure. The jet stream steers weather from west to east across the coun­try. But when it weak­ens and bends — potentiall­y a con­se­quence of warm­ing in the Arc­tic, sci­en­tists say — those pres­sure dif­fer­ences clash, of­ten spawn­ing se­vere storms.

That pat­tern was un­usu­ally per­sis­tent through­out the sec­ond half of May, con­tribut­ing not just to the spate of tor­na­does but se­vere flood­ing across the Mid­west, Ac­cuWeather me­te­o­rol­o­gist Alyson Hoegg said.

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