Though the severe weather season of 2013 will likely become known for its destruction in the southern Plains, the number of tornadoes to occur this year bears a stark contrast to average.
Through Aug. 18, 2013, there have only been 716 preliminary local storm reports of tornadoes in the United States, compared to the 2005-2012 average of 1,221 for the date.
To catch up to the average of those years, 2013 would have to double its current amount by the end of December, but experts say that's not likely.
Preliminary storm report numbers may be higher than actual due to duplicate reports.
"The chance of catching up to normal or average tornado numbers through the end of the year is low," Storm Prediction Center Warning Coordination Meteorologist Gregory Carbin said.
"However, a combination of an increase in tropical cyclone landfalls and the possibility of a late autumn tornado outbreak could turn the curve, so to speak."
According to Carbin, the low number of storms this year is what's keeping the number of tornadoes at bay.
"Since tornadoes require strong shear, the low numbers are a result of a lack of shear and that is tied to the lack of strong/intense weather systems," Carbin said.
Wind shear is the change in direction or speed of wind with altitude. Strong wind shear creates rotation in the atmosphere.
"So, in a sense, the lack of powerful storm systems, especially during the late winter/early spring, is why the tornado numbers are lower than average," he said.
Despite significant tornado events this year such as Moore, Okla., where a massive EF-5 tornado ripped apart nearly everything in its path, it's stronger tornadoes that have been less frequent this year.
Through June 2013, tornadoes rated EF-2 and stronger were running about 37 percent of normal.
Despite the low numbers, 2013 is certainly not the lowest year on record. June of 2013 yielded more than 500 tornadoes. About one-third of the past 60 years have yielded fewer than 500.
Through June, the states showing the greatest below average numbers include Florida and Texas. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee have seen above average numbers through June.
Regionally, the the northern Plains and Upper Midwest states of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois were running below average.
A powerful storm will bring disruptive weather from Spain to France and Italy for Christmas Day.
As California heads into its third consecutive dry winter with no relief in sight, firefighters continue to battle a late-fall blaze in Big Sur.
After several days of unseasonable warmth, bitter cold and rounds of snow will continue to spread across the Western and Central states into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
An abrupt and abnormal cold wave gripped parts of southeastern Texas in early December, catching many off-guard, including two native Southern California bobcats recently transferred to the area.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Central Illinois (1836)
Famous "Sudden Change" in central Illinois. Cold front at noon caused quick drop from 40 degrees to zero.
International Falls, MN (1989)
Low of -34 + high of -21. Wind chill between 60 + 70 below.
Atlantic Ocean (1984)
Hurricane Lili northeast of Puerto Rico. Only the 6th tropical storm in December since 1886.