As we head deeper into the spring season, our meteorological focus tends to shift from potential wintry threats to a much more serious weather hazard...severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. While the severe weather that occurs here in the Northeast pales in comparison to what our neighbors in the Midwest often deal with, we do in fact have a legitimate severe weather season. In this blog entry I'd like to focus on what our "traditional" severe weather season is considered to be, and also what we might expect if this upcoming season is in fact a "normal" one.
According to statistics dating back to 1980, our peak severe weather season here in the Twin Tiers begins on April 29th (next Wednesday) and ends on September 5th. During that period, severe weather in the form of damaging winds, hail, and/or tornadoes occurs somewhere within our viewing area on an average of 46 days...with damaging winds occurring on 41 days, hail occurring on 20 days, and tornadoes occurring on 8 days. July is the most active month of the year with an average of 116 severe weather occurrences per season, while June is the second most active month with an average of 99 severe weather occurrences. August and May fall into third and fourth place with an average of 73 and 71 severe weather occurrences, respectively. The least active month of the year is February with an average of one severe weather occurrence.
The most active time of day tends to be the late afternoon and early evening hours. When we look at the total number of severe weather reports dating back to 1980 on an hour-by-hour basis, the most active hour of the day is 5:00 PM and the least active hour of the day is 4:00 AM. Damaging winds and hail have been reported at every hour of the day, but there has never been an observed tornado at 1:00 AM, 4:00 AM, 7:00 AM, or 10:00AM.
Four "violent" tornadoes (F4 or stronger) have been reported within 124 nautical miles of Binghamton since 1980, two of which were fatal. Two F4 tornadoes touched down on May 31, 1985...one of which was responsible for four deaths and 40 injuries. Another F4 tornado touched down on July 10, 1989 with 20 injuries resulting, and the most recent F4 tornado touched down on May 29, 1995 with three deaths and 24 injuries. There has never been an F5 tornado within 124 nautical miles of Binghamton.
For more information including a number of charts and graphs, click on the link below: