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MU Weather Expert says Worst of Tornado Season Almost Over

May 13, 2008

Story Contact:  Jennifer Faddis, (573) 882-6217,
Anthony Lupo, (573) 884-1638,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - More than 60 tornadoes recently carved a path of destruction from the Midwest to the East Coast leaving devastation and fatalities in their wake. A University of Missouri weather expert says this tornado season has been very severe, but he believes the worst is almost over.

Anthony Lupo, associate professor of atmospheric science in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, said these strong tornadoes were caused by the intense contrast of the unusually cool spring air to the north and the warmer air near the Gulf of Mexico.

"Forecasters knew this was coming, but you can never predict exactly where or exactly how strong the tornadoes will be," Lupo said.

Tornado season peaks from late March to August. According to Lupo, tornadoes that occur from mid-May to August are usually of the weaker variety.

"Stronger, more deadly storms tend to occur in the earlier part of the tornado season," Lupo said. "We've had more of these storms this year and more fatalities than we've had in the past two decades."

Lupo is an expert on global climate change and severe weather in the Midwest. He earned his doctoral degree from Purdue University in 1995 and has done research at Purdue, the State University of New York-Albany and MU. He is a fellow in the Royal Meteorological Society and a member of the American Meteorology Society.

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