Look, it doesn’t take a statistical study to convince many of us storm chasers that June has been largely MIA for a decade when it comes to major tornado events.

But we did make a video about that.

Historically, you could consider June a second May in many years. No, really!

Total by month 1950 2011

Courtesy: ustornadoes.com

One of the big drivers of historical June tornado patterns was an active jet that continued into the month of June on the Southern and Central Plains. This brought ample tornado chances to Kansas/Nebraska/Oklahoma/Texas/New Mexico well into what has basically become a summer month. This feature has been missing in action for much of the last decade. 

But this year? It’s back baby.

Screenshot 2023 05 29 at 9 30 16 PM

The pattern since the beginning of the month has basically featured a split flow pattern with the subtropical jet nosing over the Southern Plains. This has led to a steady string of severe weather and tornado risks this past month (and one tired storm chaser at the very least).

We know that we’re likely going to end May with a couple more chase days and begin June with a couple more. Basically Tuesday to Friday this week = more of the same as the prior few weeks.

In fact, I think as big pieces of energy eject this week (right now Wed-Fri are possibilities) we could see some more robust risks for severe weather materialize.

But Wait, There’s More!

Ensembles are in reasonably good agreement that there will be ample flow over solid moisture for much of the first half of the month, with the June 8-15 period in particular looking spicier on some ensembles.

500h anom mean conus 2

The blue is an indicator of unsettled weather on this model chart, and in this case — the likelihood of severe weather with the orientation of this entire map points to yes.

If this comes to pass, it would be one of the more favorable June patterns I can remember in quite some time over the Plains. We’ve had pretty major ridging poke its way onto the Plains much of the last decade pretty early on in the month — so this would probably mean several more chase days ahead for this tired (but highly enthusiastic) storm chaser for the first 1/2 of June.

Maybe, Finally Summer Afterwards?

A more summertime pattern that shifts the jet stream and storm chances well north may finally materialize into the late parts of the month. Maybe. I mean, models have wanted to ridge out the Plains only to have small bits of subtropical energy around to keep the party going for a lot of the last month. So really, I’m just going to shrug.

But I do think if I were flexible enough to choose when to storm chase, I’d be putting my money on the first 1/2 of the month vs. the last 1/2 at this point.

The Bottom Line

This June is probably going to be a lot different than the last several Junes. I suspect we’ll have a few pretty robust tornado events in the first 1/2 of the month and also, some good old-fashioned dryline/Panhandle in June type of setups out there. The season is really, probably, only 1/2 of the way done for the road warrior storm chasers out there. That is also because I think this summer is going to keep some robust risks going on the High Plains I think, sorry Monsoon storm chasers for that thought.

Buckle up.