Tornadoes

What's With All the Severe Weather Warnings This Week?

There have been 88 severe thunderstorm warnings, six tornado warnings and 284 large hail and storm damage reports in the last seven days

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While heat has taken the headlines, strong storms have continued to bring the heat over the past seven days, including a bit of severe weather.

There have been 88 severe thunderstorm warnings, six tornado warnings and 284 large hail and storm damage reports. When it comes to summers across New England, this isn’t out of the ordinary. July and August are typically our most active months for thunderstorms and severe weather.

In fact, Boston can get thunder year-round, but there tends to be a higher frequency between mid-May and to the end of August, with the peak right around early July. Occasionally there’s a second peak in early August.

Caribou, Maine tends to be limited to thunderstorms between late May and August with a peak in mid-July.

Beyond the normal climatology, why has the last week specifically been active? It’s been in part due to a persistent ridge of high pressure across the plains and western U.S. The flow around high pressure is clockwise. New England sits on the right side of that flow. That allows disturbances to run from west to east, impacting the area. The storms don’t have a lot of support and bring an occasional downpour or shower. When it comes to those tornadoes in the region, it’s not an every year occurrence.

The tornado touched down around 6:50 p.m. in Addison, a half mile southwest of the intersection of routes 22A and 17. It ended about two minutes later a half mile northeast of the same intersection.

In looking back:

  • Massachusetts averages six tornado warnings per year since 1986. The state has seen one tornado warning this year and 21 last year.
  • Connecticut averages five tornado warnings per year, since 1989. The state has seen one tornado warning this year and four last year.
  • Rhode Island averages two tornado warnings per year, since 1986. There have been no tornado warnings this year.
  • Vermont averages three tornado warnings per year, since 1986. It’s had one so far this year. The storms last week produced two tornadoes.
  • New Hampshire averages three tornado warnings per year, since 1986. The state has seen two tornado warnings this year. An EF-1 tornado touched down last week.
  • Maine averages four tornado warnings since 1990. The state has had three tornado warnings this year. There were seven last year.
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