When people think of spring they think of warming temperatures and sunny skies. Although this is always welcome weather after months of cold conditions it usually comes at a cost. Typically March, April, and May are active weather months here in Eastern Carolina. The reason for this is because of colliding air masses.
The winter months are dominated by cold air, stable air, and the summer is dominated by very warm air with little cool air aloft to create ideal conditions for strong thunderstorms. But in the fall and spring, spring in particular, as the temperatures begin to rise so do the thunderstorm chances. These thunderstorm chances are most common around cold or warm fronts. The reason for this is because that is where very warm and moist air collides with cold air to the north. The interaction between these two air-masses usually gives us 4 or 5 significant severe thunderstorm outbreaks in about a 12 week period, March 10-June 10. This year has been an exception, and if anything it has been to quiet.
With the lack of moisture we have dodged the thunderstorms but we have also turned our very soggy grounds into a very dry ground. At this point the wet winter and the recent dry period have balanced eachother out but going forward we need some showers and thunderstorms to prevent continued drying and another potential drought.
We have had our opportunities for rain or strong thunderstorms but we have lucked out in the exact timing of these fronts. Several weeks ago we had two strong cold fronts move through the area but it was during the late overnight period when conditions are much less favorable for severe weather. Another front last week was washed out by the time it made it to Eastern Carolina after dropping up to 15 inches of rain 500 miles to the west of us. The front that moved through the area today was a strong front in temperature contrast but lacked available moisture. By my count, we have dodged 4 fronts that typically would have given us significant rain and or strong thunderstorms. Although severe weather can occur during any month of the year, we have another 4 weeks of our peak of potential severe weather threat. At this point we need to hope for some rain given the recent dry conditions, but hopefully we can continue to dodge the severe weather into June.