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Spring tornado season this year one of the busiest on record

Spring tornado season this year one of the busiest on record
Spring tornado season this year one of the busiest on record 02:04

NORTH TEXAS — This spring brought an extraordinary amount of rain, thunderstorms, and tornadoes to North Texas.

Thirty-five counties in Texas are now eligible for federal disaster assistance, including Denton, Dallas and Collin counties. FEMA crews have been going door-to-door in affected areas to offer resources and guidance.

"Unfortunately, recovery is never a sprint," said Nikki Gaskins Campbell with FEMA. "It is always a marathon. So as long as there is a need and we can help people, we're going to be here for quite some time."

So far this year, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth has issued 552 warnings for either a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flash flood in their 46-county coverage area in North and Central Texas.

That's an almost 40% increase from last year, when the NWS issued 396 warnings through June 10. It's still less than the record of 579 warnings by June 10, 2015.

In 2018, only 161 warnings had been issued up to this point in the year, the fewest amount in recent years.

"In terms of the number of tornadoes, it's definitely been among the largest numbers that we've seen," said Daniel Huckaby, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, "So far in our area of responsibility., we've had 31 confirmed tornadoes for the year to date."

According to the NWS, that's the 10th most since 1950, but just half of the greatest total on record for the year to date, which is 61 tornadoes in 2015.

"We've had a pattern that's conducive to severe weather," Huckaby said. "More persistent than usual. Part of that has to do with the fact that we've had a really strong ridge of high pressure over Mexico."

Huckaby says that combined with an unusually strong area of low pressure along the Canadian border, set us up for an active spring.

"It's certainly one of the busiest that we've had," he said.

And we could still see more severe weather this month.

Huckaby hopes it serves as a reminder for people to make their safety plan now.

"Particularly when we have a really strong, devastating tornado, one that includes loss of life, it really lets everyone know that this could impact you and your family as well," said Huckaby.

More statistics from the NWS about this year's storm season in North Texas:

  • The seven fatalities with the Valley View EF-3 tornado were the most in the area since the Garland/Rowlett EF-4 tornado in December 2015, which claimed 10 lives.
  • For the year to date, 2024 is the fifth wettest year on record for DFW with 28.64", which is over 11 inches above normal.  The two wettest years (up to this point), 1957 and 2015, were also El Nino years that ended multi-year droughts.
  • In our 46-county area, we've had 16 consecutive days with thunderstorms (May 21 - June 5).  During May 2015, we had a whopping 26 consecutive days, including 10 straight at DFW Airport.
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