Tornado records are being broken - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tornado records are being broken

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Dark clouds gather in Albany on Thursday morning.  There have been plenty of dark clouds around the Southeast this Spring. Dark clouds gather in Albany on Thursday morning. There have been plenty of dark clouds around the Southeast this Spring.
A warning siren stands guard on Albany's Northwest side.  It is one of 14 in the county. A warning siren stands guard on Albany's Northwest side. It is one of 14 in the county.
Dougherty County Emergency Manager Jim Vaught looks over the National Climate Data Center's tornado database.  Since 1950, there have been 17 confirmed tornadoes in Dougherty County. Dougherty County Emergency Manager Jim Vaught looks over the National Climate Data Center's tornado database. Since 1950, there have been 17 confirmed tornadoes in Dougherty County.
A tree came to rest on top of this car in Albany during the storms earlier this month. A tree came to rest on top of this car in Albany during the storms earlier this month.
A map showing the effect on ocean temperatures in a La Nina.  Severe weather is one feature of a La Nina. A map showing the effect on ocean temperatures in a La Nina. Severe weather is one feature of a La Nina.

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Scenes like the ones in Alabama have been far too common around the Southeast this Spring. Yesterday alone, there were 165 reports of tornadoes in 14 different states. And as the days go on, that total will only grow.

So, unfortunately, will the death toll.

Hundreds of people have already been killed this spring. This type of weather has emergency managers on high alert.

Jim Vaught is the Dougherty County Emergency Manager.  He said: "it has been an active season."

Very active. April 2011 is already a record breaker, with the 863 tornado reports the highest ever recorded for a single month. While the numbers are high, one rule still applies when it comes to storms.

Jim Vaught says it best: "it doesn't matter if it's one or a hundred - it only takes one."

The reason for all of this severe weather is a phenomenon called La Nina.

The cooling of the waters in the Equatorial Pacific has a big effect on the weather in our part of the country. It pushes the subtropical jet stream to the northwest of its usual position and when fronts push in the Southeast, the turning of the winds with height leads to tornadoes.

While South Georgia hasn't seen as many tornadoes as areas to our northwest, we've had some rough weather as well this month.

"We have had reports that 8 homes had trees down on them and one car was crushed," said Vaught.

And there's still a long way to go in the peak severe weather season. The good news is that in the next month or so, the number of tornadoes should go down. The bad news is that there will be another severe weather hazard to deal with.

Vaught said, "the hurricane season is coming up and has been predicted to be a little bit more active than last year."

The best way to deal with what could be coming is to have a plan. That applies to everyone, including the emergency managers themselves.

"We talk to each other, we help each other. We have a mutual agreement plan that if one needs help, we all help," Vaught said.

No matter who it is, the key is to be prepared. So that when the skies turn dark, you can avoid being caught off guard.

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