Why are severe storms less common in May?

Why are severe storms less common in May?

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Have you wondered why severe weather season calms down around May in the Pine Belt, just as it ramps up in the Great Plains?

During the spring months, if the Plains have severe weather, Mississippi will usually be impacted the next day. This changes during the month of May, and it is all caused by the jet stream!

The jet stream migrates north & south during the year as we warm up & cool down.

In the spring months (February, March and April), the jet stream is located across the southern U.S. This causes storm systems to track across the southern Plains and into the southeast.

Typical locations of Polar Jet Stream throughout summer and winter

Photo Credit: UCAR/ MetEd / COMET Program

Things change around May as the southern and central parts of the U.S. begin to warm up. Cold air to the North begins to moderate and retreat northward. As a result, the jet stream to migrates northward into the northern U.S. This causes storm systems to track from the Central Plains though the Ohio Valley and across the Great Lakes.

The jet stream then begins to move southward once again during the fall months. This is why we have a secondary severe weather season in the Southeastern U.S.