Get Ready for this Year’s Crop of…Tornadoes

Welcome to summer! After this year’s bitterly cold winter and massive snowfalls in much of the country, it’s wonderful to have warmer weather return. While the season hasn’t quite made an appearance in all parts of country yet, in some areas of the U.S. the air is warmer, grass is green, flowers are blooming, birds are singing…and tornadoes will probably be spawning.

Damage from a tornado in Adairsville, Georgia, with a Crawford adjuster on site.

Damage from a tornado in Adairsville, Georgia, with a Crawford adjuster on site.

Many people may not associate spring and summer with violent, damaging wind storms, but years of research have shown that the United States has the highest incidence of tornadoes worldwide, with an average of 1,300 occurring every year, and many of those tornadoes occur in the spring and summer.

Tornado seasons vary in different parts of the United States, but generally they can start early in the year and continue until the end of summer.

In the Southeast, the peak season for tornadoes is February through April—late winter and early spring. In the northern Plains, Midwest, and Ohio Valley, tornadoes are most likely to develop from April through August— from early spring through summer.

Earlier this year, in an article by Jillian MacMath, staff writer, the site’s Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok commented on the coming spring’s weather patterns: “I think we’re going to have a lot more tornadoes for the spring season compared to the last couple of years, with it really picking up as we get into April and May in the more traditional areas down south.” The same article went on to specify that Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Jackson, Mississippi; are where the severe weather season will focus.

Given the unpredictability of spring and summer weather, it is always a good idea to pay attention when the weather report says that storms are coming into your area. What may seem to be a typical thunderstorm has the potential to escalate into something far more serious. Keep updated on local weather reports; they can provide fairly precise information on the probability of tornadoes generating in specific areas.

Be prepared for a tornado with a family disaster plan, and know where you and your family should seek shelter if you’re threatened. While warning and preparation can help save lives, they can’t do anything to hinder the random, unstoppable destructive force of a cyclone.

First responders following a tornado strike include the police and fire departments, ambulances, utility workers for disrupted power and gas lines, and….insurance adjusters. Insurers often email policyholders in affected areas to let them know how to file claims as soon as possible, and consequently adjusters try to reach the scene of the tornado damage as quickly as is practical.

Crawford helps manage the effects of tornadoes through its Catastrophe Services (CAT), one of the insurance industry’s leading independent adjusting resource for claims management in response to natural (and man-made) disasters, and also its Global Technical Services(GTS®)  business, which focuses on large and complex insurance losses. If you’d like to know about what these services include then read more about CAT services here  and GTS here.

Enjoy spring and summer, but always keep up with weather reports, especially if you’re in a tornado-prone area of the country.

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