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  • Writer's pictureMeteorologist Joseph Cooper

Spring 2024: A Record-Setting Year For Heat, Precipitation, & Severe Weather!

Meteorological Summer is underway (June 1st – August 31st), with Astronomical Summer starting on June 20th. Before we dive into discussions about sweltering temperatures, swimming pools, and ice cream, let’s take a look back at an active and impressive Spring season!


Spring began in a weak El Niño phase, but we quickly shifted out of El Niño into an ENSO-neutral pattern. These shifts often lead to an active Spring across the United States, and this year was no exception. By late Winter, ridging developed across the eastern portions of the United States, while troughing moved into the western parts of the continent. This textbook recipe set the stage for an active Spring and severe weather season. Although temporary shifts occurred during Spring, ridging consistently returned to the east, accompanied by troughing in the west.


(Spring Pattern In 2024 With Upper-level Troughing West & Ridging East)


Across the Midwest, upper-level ridging largely controlled the pattern, allowing warm air to arrive early and persist throughout the Spring season. Locations in the central and eastern United States experienced temperatures from March to May that were 1-3°F above average. Areas spanning the Ohio and Tennessee Valley regions, as well as portions of the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic, witnessed their 2nd to 5th warmest Spring since records began in 1893.



In the central and eastern United States, ridging combined with troughing in the west, created an active weather pattern across the Midwest. Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and parts of northern Michigan saw some of their top 5 wettest Springs.



Precipitation was welcomed across the Midwest, as widespread drought conditions persisted from Winter. However, the Spring alleviated most of the drought, leaving only a few areas still affected as we entered the summer season.



(US Drought Monitor on Feb. 27, 2024, Versus Drought Monitor on June 4, 2024)


While the rain was well received, the severe weather was not. Multiple significant severe weather events, including tornado outbreaks, occurred from late Winter through late Spring, affecting the Great Plains and Midwest. Eastern Nebraska and Iowa were hit particularly hard, with two significant tornado days on April 26th and May 21st. An EF-4 tornado struck Greenfield, IA, on May 21, 2024, causing 35 injuries and 5 deaths. Iowa alone experienced 94 tornadoes this Spring.



As of June 8th, 2024, this has been the second most active tornado season, with 1,172 tornadoes—falling short of only 2011. Additionally, wind and hail reports have been above average across the United States.



While we’ve enjoyed a break from this pattern in the past couple of weeks, data suggests a return to the same type of pattern. Above-average temperatures will dominate the east, while cooler air settles in the western United States. However, the bigger story may be the possibility of a rejuvenated threat of severe weather for portions of the Great Plains and Midwest regions!


Make sure to download the TDS Weather App! The app allows you to check the hourly forecast, track storms on the radar, and receive alerts if impactful weather is headed your way. Download it for FREE from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store!

 




 

Thermodynamic Solutions (“TDS Weather”) provides professional weather consulting services to a variety of industries including: professional and minor league sports, snow removal and landscaping, golf courses and turf management, colleges and universities, and hospital networks. With nearly two decades of living and forecasting in the Ohio Valley region, our meteorologists provide custom, reliable forecasts that help clients SAVE and MAKE money in their daily operations. Our services include commercial and agricultural forecasting in the short and long ranges, lightning alerts and on-site hazardous weather monitoring, 24/7 on-call decision support services, forensic weather reporting, and more! For weather consulting inquiries, please contact us at info@tdsweather.com.




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