In April, tornadoes struck across seven states killing at least 337 people throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia, but that wasn’t the end of Mother Nature’s arrival. On May 22 an F5 tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, killing 142 people and damaging 7,000 homes and, most recently, four people were killed by a tornado in Massachusetts.
So what is going on with our weather?
“The reality is, it will take time to come up with a definitive answer as to why the severe weather is happening,” Andrew Humphrey tells BET.com. Humphrey serves as meteorologist and reporter to the NBC affiliate station in Detroit, WDIV, Channel 4.
He explains that weather catastrophes have always been around; they occur now, they’ll occur in the future and they have occurred in the past, even before the industrial revolution.
In fact, tornadoes around this time of the year are normal.
Tornado season occurs throughout late spring and early summer. Though we have already had a high number of tornadoes happen in the early part of the tornado season and still have at least half of it to go, Humphrey explains that the frequency of tornadoes hitting is out of the ordinary, however.
“It is amazing to me that not only have tornadoes happened so frequently, but tornadoes have actually hit population centers more often this year than any other year. You have major cities that have been struck by tornadoes,” he says.
Some of those areas include Minneapolis, Atlanta, Springfield, Mass. and St Louis and its airports.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Why is it that larger cities seem to be hit now? Is it something about major cities, or building more buildings, or having a lot of people around that attracts more tornadoes?’ And my answer is no. It’s basically a luck of the draw,” he says.
Unfortunately, the luck of the draw hasn’t been in the favor of many. Pictures of damage nationwide are disheartening and the number of those dead increases monthly, but Humphrey believes that there are some positives from the tornado: video coverage.
He explains that the video reports being submitted not just by meteorologists but average citizens as well are being used to confirm or deny tornado research being done by scientists. This will help, better forecast tornadoes for years to come, he says.
Unfortunately for the time being, “when it comes to predicting the rest of tornado season it’s almost like predicting the weather for the next day. Only time will tell,” Humphrey says.