Spring has sprung! Yes, it's only Meteorological Spring but the weather doesn't care when we begin spring, severe weather can happen anything here in the south at any time.
So even though we can have tornadoes at any time of the year, the likelihood begins to increase beginning in March.
You can find much more detailed information about tornadoes from this link on the Storm Prediction Center's website.
It's also very important to have a safety plan in place before a tornado approaches, not after the the warning is issued, and you can get much more information about Tornado Safety at this link. Also, studies have shown that many tornado deaths are due to blunt force trauma to the head, and the study recommended helmets for everyone in the house. Old (or new) motorcycle helmets are a wise investment.
For the ultimate in safety, I would highly recommend an above ground safe shelter. These structures can be installed in garages and even closets. Watch this video from a company in Alabama demonstrating the safety and construction of their safe room. Pretty incredible stuff.
The six images below show you how the probabilities and coverage expand from March 4th to April 28th.
Here's a look at the probabilities for a significant tornado during the same time period. By the end of April, the higher threat area moves back toward the central part of the country.
These left chart shows on average, how many tornadoes form by month over the U.S., while the second image shows how many form based on the time of day in the southeast. May is by far the month with the most tornadoes, although June is running a close 2nd, but once we reach May in the southeast, our chances go down and the chances increase for the central part of the country.
Based on the chart on the right, tornado formation in the southeast starts ramping up around 11 AM and peaks between 2-5 PM.
The two images below show the average tornadoes in March and April by state based on 1991-2010 climatology.
I love the Pecos Hank videos and I use some of these when I do weather talks with kids. The text below is from the YouTube page with this video.
Daily Tornado Count and Running Annual Trend
United States Annual Trends of Tornadoes
Types of Tornadoes