Examining the changes in the spatial manifestation and the rate of arrival of large tornado outbreaks
This study presents an assessment of the spatial and temporal characteristics of large tornado outbreak (LTOs) days, in which several counties were impacted by tornadoes rated F2(EF2) or greater on the Fujita (Enhanced Fujita) scale in one day. A statistical evaluation of changes in the LTO clusters for two periods, 1950–1980 and 1989–2019, has been performed. There is a geographical shift of the nucleus (central impact location) towards the southeast United States. This spatial shift is also accompanied by reduced spatial variance, suggesting LTOs have become less dispersed (or more localized) in the recent period. The overall inter-arrival rate of LTOs, and how it changed during successive 31-year climatological blocks between 1950–2019 was investigated using an exponential probability model. The arrival rate has changed from 124 days during 1950–1980 to 164 days during 1977–2007 and remained relatively constant during later periods, indicating that LTOs are becoming less frequent.