What the early spring severe storms in the south means for northeast Indiana


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Historically severe weather picks up in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio in April and May, before peaking in June. So far we have seen just a few storms as temperatures warm this spring, but nothing in terms of severe weather. However, the southern U.S. is off to an intense start to spring with multiple days with a High Risk for severe weather.

Storm Prediction Center Outlook
for March 17th, 2021

High Risk days are the highest level you can achieve on the Storm Prediction Center Scale out of 5. Prior to this year, the last High Risk day was issued in 2019. In March, there were 2 High Risk days issued in the span of eight days for parts of the south. They are issued when long-lived, widespread and intense storms are expected. This includes dangerous long track tornadoes like the ones that moved through southern states such as Alabama just a few weeks ago.

This year is off to an aggressive start for the south, due in part to the La Niña pattern that set up over the winter.

Storm Prediction Center Outlook
for March 25th, 2021

“Typical La Niña pattern keeps that moisture and a lot of the warmth and intensity south of us during the winter,” explained Michael Lewis, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana, “We are already seeing that as we move into this transition season of the spring. That moisture is in place, the strong upper levels winds, the strong jet stream, that is all in place and it’s further south.”

Storm Prediction Center severe risk categories on a scale of 1 to 5

Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on this pattern as it will eventually shift. While it may not mean the same intensity of the storms that have occurred so far in the south, it will likely mean an uptick in severe activity for northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio.

“The reality is for us to say that we are going to have a similar pattern to what occurred down south. I think is premature. I don’t think that we can predict with that certainty that this will be the pattern we will see in northern Indiana,” said Lewis, “The bigger question is when will it occur, when will that shift come towards us, and how strong will it be when that shift occurs.”

Regardless of when severe weather strikes, the images of the storms from the south are a good reminder that now is the time to prepare.

“Preparing now and preparing for that worst-case scenario now, is really the best thing to do,” Lewis urged, “So that when severe weather strikes you’re ready and you’re able to protect yourself.”

Make sure you stay ahead of the storm with alerts set up on mobile devices with apps, such as the WANE Wx App. Weather Radios are also a great tool to know when severe warnings are issued for your location. The latest forecast updates from the Live Doppler 15 Fury Storm Team, can always be found here.

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