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    New December, New Severe Weather Outbreak?

    By By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist.
    December 17, 2012, 7:46:21 AM EST

    Over the past several years in a row, there have been severe weather outbreaks, including tornadoes, during December. There could be trouble on the horizon for this December as well.

    While violent weather outbreaks during the winter are generally rare due to the weak natural heating that takes place, the right conditions can lead to severe thunderstorms any time of the year.

    According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity, "Throw in a moist flow from the Gulf of Mexico, an unusually warm weather pattern, an approaching cold front and wind shear, anything is possible ranging from damaging wind gusts and hail to strong tornadoes."


    Recent December Severe Weather

    In each year back through at least 2006, there has been at least one severe weather outbreak that included tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail during December.

    The outbreaks have been spread throughout the month and have been no stranger to the holidays.

    During some years, including 2007, 2008 and 2009, there have been multiple outbreaks of violent storms during December.


    Some of the more notable outbreaks include 2010's swarm of dozens of tornadoes that stretched from Missouri and Arkansas to Alabama spanning Dec. 30 to 31, 2009's twisters from Texas to Florida on Dec. 23 to the 24 and 2008's several dozen tornadoes and over 100 damaging wind incidents from Oklahoma and Texas to the Carolinas on Dec. 8 and 9.

    A number of the outbreaks in recent Decembers caused injuries and fatalities.

    Tornadoes that struck during New Year's Eve 2010 in parts of Missouri were lethal. Several people were injured by a tornado in Claiborne Parish, La., on Christmas Eve in 2009. Several injuries occurred in Florida on Christmas Day in 2006 as tornadoes struck central and northern counties of the peninsula.

    Just because December is the first of the three coldest months of the year over the nation, people should not let their guard down when concerns are raised for severe weather.

    The see-saw pattern with temperatures that began during the first weekend of December over a large part of the nation will continue across the southern states for much of the balance of the month.


    Near- to below-average temperatures from the typically more moist Mississippi River Valley to the East Coast were most likely a partial player in toning down the number of thunderstorms during November.

    Just a reminder: when severe thunderstorms or tornadoes are approaching seek shelter indoors, away from windows, in an interior room, when a storm shelter or basement is not available.

    Thumbnail image of tornado damage in winter by

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