Winter has arrived in many places the country, but for some Southern states, warmer weather mixed with powerful storms brought destruction and death. In Alabama, a tornado killed at least three people Wednesday morning, according to NBC News, with two more later confirmed dead in Tennessee. One of the reasons this tornado may have been so disastrous is because it happened in the early hours of the day while people were still sleeping.
Rain and high winds continued on Wednesday, with a tornado watch that lasted until noon local time.
Tornado season lasts through July, but according to Weather.com, autumn is an unofficial “second” tornado season. This second season begins in the latter half of October and lasts all the way through November. Throughout October and November, severe thunderstorms are more likely to occur. As such, tornadoes are also more likely.
The severe storms and tornado that hit the South occurred on November 30, the last day of the second tornado season.
Tornadoes can happen in most states in November (see map). The most active outbreak during second tornado season was in November, 1992. 105 tornadoes struck in 13 different states from Texas through to the Carolinas. 26 people were killed and 638 people were injured during this three-day outbreak.
Because it’s not as common to see tornadoes after July, complacency is an issue that can affect anyone. However, as we’ve seen in this case, tornadoes can and do happen throughout the year, even when we least expect them.
Being prepared for tornadoes year round is an important part of preparedness. And it’s not just tornadoes. Earthquakes can strike without warning, day or night. Hurricanes can come before or after the season officially ends. Wild fires can blow up any time of the year. Many disasters won’t give advanced warning, so make sure you have everything you need while the skies are clear.