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April 24, 2013 05:15 PM

Severe Weather Awareness

This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in South Dakota.

The statewide tornado drill conducted in South Dakota Wednesday morning is an annual event that's designed to get us thinking about the severe weather episodes that will be here before you know it.

And admittedly, many of us are a bit rusty. Last year’s severe weather was very limited.

Only ten tornados were reported in South Dakota. The drought dominated the weather pattern and the storms fizzled.

This year will likely be more active. The erratic weather patterns in April have proven that we are not immune to high impact weather events. The three main air masses that drive these severe weather outbreaks are already in place and will likely provide the necessary ingredients for more storms in the plains.

Deep snow cover to our north has kept the air cold.  The Red River flooding will start this week, much later compared to recent years.

The warm, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico has shown it's ability to go north, with record flooding now occurring in Michigan, Illinois and other states to our east.

Finally, this weekend we will see warmer, drier air moving in from Colorado and New Mexico.  This air mass was dominate in last year's drought.

Just how these air masses interact will be watched carefully in the weeks ahead.

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