Meteorologists Predict Active Tornado Year

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COLUMBIA - A day after tornadoes swept through the southern part of the state, an environmental scientist told KOMU 8 those tornadoes were unseasonably early.

Anthony Lupo, a professor of climatology at MU, said tornado season usually begins in early March and lasts until mid-June.

"Yesterday's tornadoes were surprisingly early," Lupo said. "We don't see many tornadoes in February."

Last year was a very active year for tornadoes. Missouri had 97 confirmed tornadoes, up from 80 in 2010 and 63 in 2009. In 2012, there have been 12. Lupo said the most devastating tornadoes usually come toward the beginning of the tornado season.

Lupo said the National Weather Service has predicted a year similar to last year.

"Last year and this year are La Nina years," he said. "There will be a wet period in the Midwest and those conditions make tornadoes more likely."

Lupo said mid-Missouri isn't as at risk for tornadoes compared to the rest of the state due to the geography of the Ozark Plateau, but tornadoes can unexpectedly develop at anytime.