It was a terrible Christmas for sure. The warm Chrsitmas last week made it felt like late Spring or early Summer. Christmas was very warm throughout America, east of the Rocky Mountains. The warm weather could not last forever in Winter. Cold air from the north came and it clashed with the warm air. That leads to severe weather including tornadoes.
The Eastern two thirds of America is abnormally warm. However, the warm and humid air by itself does not create storms. It needs lift. There is a large upper level trough to the west and upper level ridging to the east. That kind of setup is favorable for severe weather. The upper level trough brings in cold air from Canada and Alaska. The upper level ridging keeps things warm throughout America.
The day before Christmas Eve, known as Festivus, severe weather hit the Southeast and Midwest. It mainly centered around Kentucky, Indiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. There were numerous reports of tornadoes, hail, and strong wind. Christmas Eve had tornadoes hit the Southeast, Alabama and Mississippi. Once the tornadoes and storms past, 15 people lost their life. It is not over yet.
Christmas sees more tornadoes and severe weather in the Southeast, again over Alabama. The tornadoes do not stop there. The day after Christmas, tornadoes strike the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. A large EF-4 tornado hits Garland and Rowlett, destroying houses in its path. Once it is all over, 11 people lost their life.
There is also flooding from heavy rain. The heavy rain is mostly over Southeast Alabama, Southwest Missouri, Northeast Oklahoma, and Northwest Arkansas. The heavy rain is from the same storm system and warm air clashing. Many areas see 6 to 12 inches of rain in a 7 day period. Southeast Alabama saw as much as 19 inches of rain in 7 days! That is a lot for Winter! Then floodings have claimed at least 18 lives. Many areas in Missouri could see record flooding on par with 1973 and 1993.
To make matters worse, there is an epic blizzard that hits New Mexico and West Texas. Many areas see 6 to 12 inches with isolated totals of 15 inches of snow. Talk about an epic blizzard right there!
Christmas went from Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter all at once! Talk about crazy weather! This is what El Nino can do to our weather. My Winter forecast had a higher chance for severe weather for the South and Southeast. I think this Winter will be known as the Winter of severe weather. It is not even January and February yet.
This Christmas is a tragic one for 43 families. At least 43 people have lost their life in this severe storm. Thankfully, severe storms around Christmas are rare.