Violent tornadoes ripped through the Midwest on Sunday, causing significant damage in several communities. But isn't tornado season supposed to be in the spring and summer? Turns out tornadoes are rare in November, but not unheard of. Here's what we know:
• On average, only about 52 tornadoes are reported across the country during the entire month of November, according to data from the Storm Prediction Center.
• While most of the big tornado outbreaks tend to happen in the spring months of April and May, autumn also has its share of storms, according to Weather Channel meteorologist and tornado expert Greg Forbes. He said the second half of October and November can be ripe for severe storms and tornadoes.
• Forbes says that this time of year "is the counterpart to spring, when strong fronts and upper air systems march across the United States. "When enough warm, moist air accompanies these weather systems, the unstable conditions yield severe thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes," Forbes said.
• Former Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Dan McCarthy said that November is the second season for tornadoes.
• The worst November tornado event in U.S. history was in 2002. On Nov. 10-11 of that year, a major outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes occurred across the Tennessee and Ohio Valley regions, producing damage in 13 states. A total of 75 tornadoes touched down on Nov. 10, killing at least 36 people.
Doyle Rice, USA TODAY