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April 2011 Breaks Tornado Records

(Photo Credit: Kevin Fabrizi)

(Photo Credit: Kevin Fabrizi)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you think you’ve been seeing and hearing a lot more severe weather lately, you’re right.

This April has seen far more tornados than ever before – 886 nationwide and still counting.

While amazing to watch, they have been deadly, with more than 200 dying just this week in Alabama.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Pittsburgh say strong jet streams from the Gulf combined with colder westerly winds are causing the deadly twisters, but the reason for it is still being studied.

“The earth has been around for so long, we need a lot more research to see what’s going on,” Fred McMullen, NWS warning coordination meteorologist, said. “Our tornado history goes back to the mid-1800’s. We’re just trying to get our arms around why tornados form right now.”

One reason for the increasing number of tornados is that we are able to see and report more of them. Technology, like Doppler radar and the internet has given us more information quickly when tornados form. And people are now trained to find tornados.

“But now there’s storm chasers out there chasing all this stuff around. There’s your tornado that would have gone unreported back in the 50’s and 60’s.”

One thing’s for certain – April’s tornados have left a swath of death and destruction through parts of the Midwest and south and the month isn’t over yet.

Western Pennsylvania has been spared, except for a tornado in Hempfield Township back in March.

The NWS says we’ve only had five tornado warnings and one confirmed tornado.

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