November a big month for tornadoes in Mississippi

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – National Weather Service meteorologists are warning Mississippians to be wary of severe weather from unstable November air.
Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are the only states that have a second tornado and severe weather season each year, according to Stephen Wilkinson, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Jackson.
“We have to continue to remind people because it’s not something you’re going to hear through the national media,” he said. “We get storm systems that begin to impact our area during November when you’re getting the right combination of wind energy and instability – moisture, heat in low levels and cool air higher up.”
Tornado season is traditionally between March and May, with most tornadic activity in April.
Between 1950 and 2011, Mississippi reported 341 tornadoes in April; 221 in March and 200 in May.
However, November has the second highest number of tornadoes for the same time period. Mississippi recorded 227 for that month.
“A lot of the tornados we see in November occur at night and we can’t reach a lot of people at night because they’re sleeping,” Wilkinson said.
“Even before the event, be prepared. Have a weather radio or means of getting info in your home, business or school. Know how to respond and have some supplies to get you through some time until an emergency worker can get to you.”
The National Weather Service has documented 71 tornadoes in Mississippi in the month of November since 1992 that claimed the lives of 20 Mississippians.
The severe weather peak starts at the beginning of November and lasts four to six weeks until the weather becomes too cold for tornados.
In southern states, the season can last through January and February.
jb.clark@journalinc.com