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Alabama’s second severe weather season is nearing

November and December are known for bringing increased severe weather, including tornadoes
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:27 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s that time of year again in Alabama. Our “second” severe weather season is about to get underway across the state. That’s why October 20, 2021 has been declared Fall Severe Weather Awareness Day.

We consider March thru May our main severe weather season and November and December to be our second severe weather season. It can also be argued that Alabama’s severe weather season is just simply November thru May.

Regardless of how you slice up our severe weather “seasons,” the numbers tell us that November and December are historically active months for severe weather and tornadoes.

Fall -- especially November -- is an active month for severe weather and tornadoes in Alabama.
Fall -- especially November -- is an active month for severe weather and tornadoes in Alabama.(WSFA 12 News)

November is actually the 3rd-busiest month when it comes to tornadoes in Alabama. Only March and April have had more tornadoes dating all the way back to 1950. December isn’t quite as active, but is still in the top six when looking at monthly tornadoes.

According to the National Weather Service the stretch that is typically the most active during the fall is early November to mid-December. Sometimes it can start in late October and sometimes it can linger through late December.

Sometimes we don’t even have much of a fall severe weather season at all! It just depends on how things evolve during the late fall.

Alabama has a second severe weather season in November and December.
Alabama has a second severe weather season in November and December.(WSFA 12 News)

What we do know is we’ve had enough severe weather and tornado events in years past that make it very important to pay even more attention to Mother Nature during November and December.

As we all know, those two months happen to feature three very big holidays -- Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Those are all times when folks gather together or venture out, which makes severe weather even more dangerous.

November is, on average, an active month for severe weather and tornadoes in Alabama.
November is, on average, an active month for severe weather and tornadoes in Alabama.(WSFA 12 News)

We have had as many as 36 tornadoes in the state of Alabama during November. Our last November tornado outbreak came five years ago in 2016. Alabama recorded 15 twisters that November. On average, we see about four tornadoes statewide in November.

December’s numbers aren’t as high, but that doesn’t mean you can let your guard down. As we all know, it only takes one severe weather event or one tornado to cause significant problems and change your life forever.

December isn't as active as November in the severe weather department, but it still can bring...
December isn't as active as November in the severe weather department, but it still can bring active weather.(WSFA 12 News)

We’ve had as many as 19 tornadoes during December in Alabama. That occurred back in 2012. That year also happens to be our last December tornado outbreak in the state. Christmas Day brought 17 tornadoes to Alabama that year.

Let me make sure I say something here...

The statistics aren’t meant to inject fear into Alabamians. Rather, they are there to encourage us to be as prepared as possible for severe weather of all types -- including tornadoes.

It’s very important to have a safe place to go to in the event of severe weather. You also need to have a safety plan that you practice monthly. Know what you’ll take with you to your safe place, know the process of getting to your safe place and ensure you have the necessary emergency supplies. That would include a weather radio, flashlights, food, water, extra batteries, and other things you can find here.

You also need to know where you live. It sounds very simple, but it’s so important. You have to know what county you live in, what landmarks and streets are nearby and what NWS office covers your city or town. That will enable you to know when to take action should a watch or warning be issued.

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