by Dave Hennen
CNN Senior Meteorologist
While only handful will complain about the unusual warm January temperatures we just experienced, there was a price to pay in the form of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. A normal January averages 17 tornadoes. This year’s preliminary number is 70 according to the Storm Prediction Center. Once again the state of Alabama was particularly hard hit with 22 tornado reports, including two fatalities from storms on January 23rd. The city of Louisville had its most prolific January tornado outbreak on record, according to the National Weather Service. The total will rank January 2012 as the third most active January, with only 1950, and 1999 ranking higher, according to Greg Carbin, with the Storm Prediction Center.
The clash of unseasonably warm air and arctic air that has occasionally made its way south into the U.S. is to blame for the increased numbers. The next several days could see another round of severe weather over the Southern Plains and Southeast as above normal temperatures continue.