Spring 2011 is setting weather records - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Spring 2011 is setting weather records

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Map of weather warnings. (Source: NWS) Map of weather warnings. (Source: NWS)
Storms slammed through Alabama almost two weeks ago. (Source: WSFA) Storms slammed through Alabama almost two weeks ago. (Source: WSFA)

NORMAN, OK (RNN) - The spring of 2011 is shaping up to be a record-breaking season for weather fatalities. At 45, the number of people who have died from April storms now matches the total number of weather fatalities in 2010.

With severe storms forecast for the South and Midwest, that number is just going to continue to climb.

"We're not yet to the time of year when these types of tornadoes are most active," said Greg Carbin, forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) storm prediction center.

Severe storms will continue to move across the eastern part of the U.S. on Wednesday, with the Western Appalachians seeing the greatest threat, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

Similar to the deadly storms of a few weeks ago, these storms are anticipated to produce tornadoes, hail, strong winds and flood-inducing rain. Schools, day cares and businesses were closed early in anticipation of the weather event.

Tuesday's swelling rivers and a burst Missouri levee is adding to the stress of the severe storms. More than 50 tornadoes were reported Tuesday, spanning Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, according to NWS.

"This front isn't going anywhere, so you get repeat storms and repeat heavy rains," Carbin said.

A high-risk severe weather warning has been issued by the NWS for areas northeast of Memphis, TN, to Dallas and parts of Arkansas.

"Eventually this system will shift to the east, but it's going to do it slowly," Carbin said. "This is about as bad as you can get, in terms of repeat storm activity."

Nationwide, more than 600 tornadoes have been reported in April. That number far exceeds the average number of tornadoes produced during the month, at 163.

During the storm that started April 15, 240 tornadoes were reported in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.

Last week's fatalities, at 38, had already matched a record set 10 years ago. The record for the most deaths due to tornadoes was set in 1953, at 519.

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