Breaking down the increase in storms ahead of the severe weather - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Breaking down the increase in storms ahead of the severe weather season

A glimpse of the tornado that destroyed portions of Albany on January 22nd. (Source: Live Storms Media) A glimpse of the tornado that destroyed portions of Albany on January 22nd. (Source: Live Storms Media)
What's left of a mobile home in Adel after a tornado touched down Sunshine Acres. (Source: WALB) What's left of a mobile home in Adel after a tornado touched down Sunshine Acres. (Source: WALB)
Damaged trees and debris line 3rd Ave. after straight line winds blew through on January 2nd. (Source: WALB) Damaged trees and debris line 3rd Ave. after straight line winds blew through on January 2nd. (Source: WALB)
A bird's eye view of tornado damage at Sunshine Acres in Adel. (Source: WALB) A bird's eye view of tornado damage at Sunshine Acres in Adel. (Source: WALB)
First Alert Meteorologist Chris Zelman stresses that severe weather season is just beginning. (Source: WALB) First Alert Meteorologist Chris Zelman stresses that severe weather season is just beginning. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It isn't even the typical severe weather season yet, but southwest Georgia has already had its fair share of severe weather.

Two major events produced damaging winds and tornadoes throughout the area early this year.

First Alert Meteorologists Andrew Gorton and Chris Zelman explain what's different about this year and what's causing the severe weather season to come early.

On average, the state of Georgia experiences 26 tornadoes a year.

However, through the first 39 days in 2017, there have been at least 50 tornadoes across the state.

But why is this happening?

The abnormally warm weather is partially to blame.

"The January event was because it was so warm, we had many days above average. The two times we were twenty degrees above average were the two times we had the severe weather outbreaks," said First Alert Meteorologist Chris Zelman.

Warm air is isn't the only ingredient needed for severe weather to occur, there are a few other factors as well.

"You need instability and lift in the atmosphere, number one. Which we don't tend to have in the winter months. That's what's lacking. You need rotation in the winds as you go up in the atmosphere as you go up, which usually does occur in the winter months," said Zelman.

These are all ingredients that usually come together during the months of February through May when the most tornadoes occur across the state. 

The January tornado outbreak was an anomaly, but even though February is a winter month, it is not uncommon for severe weather to strike Southwest Georgia.

 "February we can at least look into the future for a week. It looks like there will be a pretty strong storm system midweek next week. Some of the models do indicate a very strong storm that could potentially produce some more severe weather and even severe weather," said Zelman. 

Even though the next round of potentially severe weather is about a week away, now is the time to make your severe weather plan.

The severe weather season is just beginning across southwest Georgia.

Of course you can always download the free WALB weather app which will send you lifesaving weather alerts straight to your phone. 

For more information on severe weather safe spots, watch First Alert Meteorologist Yolanda Amadeo's special report on the 6:00 p.m. news Thursday night.

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