Colorado tornadoes: Springtime is when we see the most

(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — As the month of May forges on and we go deeper into our Spring season, Tornado Alley is starting to wake up. Several hundred tornadoes have already been reported across the midwest, but Colorado has only had 5 reported so far this year.

FOX21 Storm Team Meteorologist Ryan Matoush got some of the only footage of one of those tornadoes in late April.

On average, Colorado can expect roughly 12 tornadoes in May. Data from the Storm Prediction Center paints states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as hot spots during this time. These numbers come from an average of the last 25 years, dating back to 1998. The whole United States averages 275 tornadoes for May.

For June, Colorado usually sees about 13 tornadoes. From the map, you can see that some of the bigger numbers start to drop off and tornado frequency drifts north. States like North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota become much more active during the early summer. On average, the United States gets 196 tornadoes for the month of June.

When you compare the year as a whole, Colorado usually sits somewhere at the bottom of the top 10 for the average number of tornadoes per year. The last 30 years put Colorado in 11th place for the most tornadoes per year. The highest, by far, is Texas—due largely to its size and abundance of tornadic ingredients.

Last year, 2023, Colorado had 89 tornadoes reported. This put the state well above average when compared to the recent 30-year climatology. One tornado report came during the month of October.

What should you do if you encounter a tornado? Here are some friendly reminders: The first step is to have a plan set ahead of time. Be aware of potential severe weather for the day. The best way to prevent getting hurt by a tornado is to steer clear of them entirely.

If you do find yourself in a bad situation, and a tornado is imminent, be sure to head to your basement. If you don’t have one, head to the lowest floor and find the most interior room you can. Think closets or bathrooms.

In the worst-case scenario—should you find yourself outside during a tornado—seek sturdy shelter immediately. If none is available, find the lowest-lying spot possible, such as a ditch or a ravine. Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.

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