North Carolina and the nation as a whole have seen more tornadoes this spring than we've seen in at least 10 years. In fact, the month of May has been very active with 480 known tornadoes by May 28th. The highest number of tornadoes in any month since 1950 occurred in 2003 when 543 tornadoes developed nationwide. This year's increase in tornadoes has been dramatic and may have been caused by La Nina, which is a cooling of the equatorial Pacific Ocean waters. This cooling typically happens once every 4 to 6 years and lasts about one to two years. Temperatures are already beginning to return to normal in that area of the Pacific but the damage has been done. The La Nina tends to enhance severe weather by causing a greater contrast of warm and cold temperatures across the eastern half of the United States thus providing more fuel for developing thunderstorms.
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