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Midwest Can Expect More Tornadoes, Severe Storms

Midwesterners hoping for a calm stretch of weather after a cold, snowy winter might be disappointed. Tony Lupo, department chair and professor of atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, says the approaching spring could be stormier than normal.

Lupo says the upcoming weather pattern is affected by La Niña, the same dominant atmospheric phenomenon that spawned this winter’s blizzards. La Niña occurs when cooler than normal water temperatures develop in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Lupo thinks La Niña will lead to increased spring and summer thunderstorm activity in states north of Tornado Alley, including Nebraska, Iowa, northern Illinois and Indiana. Tornado Alley is defined as North Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

The effects of La Niña are most noticeable in the winter, when it brings extreme cold to parts of the nation.