The landscape of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles isn’t considered dynamic, but the atmosphere above it can be. Each spring forecasters attempt to predict the chances for severe weather and try to determine where that severe weather will strike. Often times forecasters look at multiple variables on a day-to-day basis to forecast severe weather for the public.
Seasonally, most forecasters look at El Nino / La Nina (ENSO) to determine how – generally – severe weather will develop into the spring. The previous year’s rainfall is applied, too. Then – again, generally – forecasters decide if the season will be active or inactive.
Most times, this is not shared with the public.
The goal of investigating the history of severe weather across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles is to determine if there is any connection between tornadoes (or tornado days) and sea surface temperature in the Pacific (ENSO), sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska, sea surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico, and the previous fall/winter precipitation.
The data collected was from 1996 to 2014. But because the 2014 tornado season isn’t over, it won’t be used in the analysis of the data.
On final point, this isn’t scholarly research and isn’t being held to the rigorous standards set forth by many of the great universities and great thinkers in this country. This project is more about making observations, looking at data collected, and finding a more useful guide to forecast seasonal severe weather patterns. And hopefully this will entice others – with more time and resources to look into any connections.