It appears to many Missourians that this and other Midwestern states have been particularly hard hit by tornadoes this year. And, the National Weather Service backs up that thinking.

Meteorologist Steve Runnels with the National Weather Service in Springfield says this time of year is prime tornado season, but this year has been especially bad. Runnels points out there were 33 tornadoes in southwest Missouri during a 24 hour period in January – and that severe weather has been followed by more dangerous storms in subsequent months, culminating in tornadic activity this month. 

He says meteorologists have been following a recurring Pacific Ocean feature known as La Nina, which can lead to an increased contrast in temperatures, followed by stronger winds, which are leading to tornado-producing supercells.

Missouri’s prime tornado season runs from late April through early June, but Runnels cautions tornadoes can hit at any time during the year.

Download/Listen: Steve Walsh report (:60 MP3)