Iowa hasn’t had many severe weather warnings so far this year

Running count of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Iowa from 2008 to 2019, through May 15. Source: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - We’re halfway through May, and by this point we’d typically be seeing thunderstorm activity – and severe weather – ramping up across the state of Iowa. That has not really been the case in 2019, though. While the past few weeks have featured above-normal rainfall, they’ve also been cooler than normal. This has helped limit the energy that’s needed to make the types of storms that cause damaging wind, hail, or tornadoes.

Through May 15, Iowa has had only 34 severe thunderstorm warnings, and there have been no tornado warnings. These warning records go back to 2008, and this is the fewest since then. In fact, this is the first time since the start of the records 11 years ago that Iowa has been tornado warning free this late in the season. The previous low through May 15 was nine in both 2010 and 2015. For both severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, the lowest total through May 15 had been 55 warnings in 2013.

The highest number of tornado warnings in Iowa through May 15 is a whopping 58 in 2011. For combined severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, 2017 takes the top spot with 216.