Although many people see summer as the season to relax in perfect weather, a turbulent June proved that warm months are still prone to severe weather.
Hot and humid weather slammed the United States with four tropical storms, a derecho and intense heat waves already, all before the beginning of July.
Storms are usually carried by a jet stream in fall and winter months. Jet streams are channels of fast winds near the altitude where planes fly. While the jet stream weakens in the summer, a new source of energy is introduced into the atmosphere: heat.
The peak of tornado season ends in May. By late June and early July, tornado activity usually decreases by 50 percent, but that doesn't mean severe weather stops for the summer. Heat fuels an increase in the amount of thunderstorms and flooding threats.
"This summer's heat acts as a fuel for thunderstorms," said AccuWeather Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity."You don't need the jet stream in the summer. It's like gas station season for thunderstorms."
A super derecho leaving a 700-mile trail of destruction across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic on June 29 demonstrated the ferocity of thunderstorms fueled by intense heat.
Despite tornado season dwindling, June was the most active severe weather month in 2012 with an estimated 3,700 damage reports from the Storm Prediction Center. May, even though it's usually the peak of tornado season, gathered 3,320 reports.
High tropical activity didn't make June any easier.
Tropical activity built up as the country came out of another La Niña winter, when sea surface temperatures are cooler than normal. According to the NOAA, the chances for the U.S. to experience hurricane activity during a La Niña season are substantially higher, which explains June's record-breaking number of tropical storms.
However, the intensity of tropical activity is expected to decrease as we trend into an El Niño phase, said AccuWeather Long-Range Forecaster Jack Boston.
El Niño is La Niña's counterpart and creates warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures. El Niño pulls the jet stream farther south across North America, which sends a blast of high-level winds into the Atlantic ocean. The wind shear blows apart tropical storms in the ocean and limits hurricane activity.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean it will be a calmer August.
Boston said to expect more severe thunderstorms throughout the summer as a result of the heat.
"As hot, humid air in the South runs into a jet stream from the Great Lakes, it will make a good setup for strong thunderstorms across the Northeast," Boston said.
Without the wind to move these storms quickly, Boston said the East can expect to deal with flooding issues.
"There won't be wind and hail, but the thunderstorms will move very slowly, which means more drenching rains," he said.
As a large storm rolls out of the Plains and Midwest, a swath of snow, ice and travel disruptions will extend into the Northeast beginning during the latter part of the weekend.
February's record cold is expected to weaken across the East and Midwest heading into the month of March.
The weekend is setting up to be a slippery and messy one across a large part of the Plains and Midwest as a new winter storm rolls northeastward.
Residents in Spokane, Washington, recently caught sight of the unique phenomenon known as "hole punch" clouds that cause a gaping hole in the otherwise cloudy sky.
The week kicked off with a heavy snow expanding across areas of the Four Corners states before striking the South with snow and ice, causing treacherous travel from Shreveport, Louisiana, to Memphis, Tennessee.
Snowshoers across the country will descend upon Eau Claire, Wisconsin, from Feb. 27 to March 1 to compete in the 2015 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships.
Severe cold Arctic outbreak in Northern Plains with temps. 40 to 50 degrees below zero. But, at the same time, warm in the East; 80's in Carolinas: Charleston, SC - 86 degrees Wilmington, NC - 85 degrees Minneapolis, MN - -9 degrees/-26 degrees Medora, ND - -47 degrees Big Fork, MN - -44 degrees Thoeny, MT - -52 degrees Huron, SD - -39 degrees, February record
Belouve, Reunion (1964)
52.76" of rain in 12 hours (world record) (Feb. 28-29).
Nome, Alaska (1995)
Seasonal snow record of 108 inches set. The old record was 107.5 inches set during the 1931-1932 cold season.