For the past few weeks, Central Texas has seen some severe weather. Some are wondering why we are seeing so much of it right now.
Central Texas is part of Tornado Alley, which is where 75 percent of tornados occur – and also where the greatest severe weather threat is.
Tornado Alley extends all the way from the southern part of Minnesota to Central Texas. The reason why Tornado Alley is so prone to severe weather is because it has the right ingredients for the thunderstorms to form.
When an upper level low moves off from the Rocky Montains, it creates a dip in the jet stream – also known as a trough. On the left side of the jet stream, low-level warm air surges upward while cold dry air at the upper levels is pulled downward. These are the basic ingredients for instability, which every thunderstorm needs to grow.
Warm, moist air is less dense than cold, dry air. When these two air masses meet, the warm surface air will begin to rise.
Air moving upward is what creates our clouds, rain and thunderstorms. If the upper-level jet stream is strong in this storm, the turning of the winds with height also known as “wind shear” will create super cell thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Severe weather season will continue roughly through August, but the peak of the season for Central Texas is really from March through May.
During the spring months, this is when temperatures start to climb and the south winds start bringing in the moisture.