After the Storm Prediction Center issued a rare, high-risk for severe weather last weekend, 41 tornadoes were recorded that killed at least 19 people in the southeastern United States.
The number of people killed by tornadoes over the weekend was more than the total number of people killed by tornadoes in all of 2016.
On Jan. 2, 43 reported tornadoes hit the southeast, killing four people. Another four were killed in Mississippi Jan. 21 and another 15 have been confirmed, so far, in southern Georgia.
In North Texas we have had a few rounds of severe weather this year, but nothing to this magnitude.
On Jan. 2, strong storms moved through during the morning hours with 60 mph winds. Jan. 15, a large supercell produced brief tornadoes in Bosque, Hill, Johnson, Tarrant and Dallas counties.
It is too soon to tell, but it could be an active severe weather year for North Texas.
The reason: La Niña.
In 2015, Nature Geoscience studied the influence of hail storms and tornado occurrences in La Niña versus El Niño years. What they found was that from March through May, tornado and hail storms happened more frequently in our area.
Hail and tornado events happen less frequent during El Niño years.
During La Niña years, the position of the jet stream allows for hot and humid air to sit over the Southern Plains while cold, dry air hovers over northern states. This difference creates a boundary favorable for storm development.
This doesn't necessarily mean North Texas is going to have a bad severe weather season. This theory proved to be more accurate during strong and moderate La Niña years. This year the La Niña is weaker.