Tornado season in Texoma is starting earlier.
Peak tornadic activity, which typically occurs in early may, has been pushed up to two weeks ahead of time over the past 50 years, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
Dr. Harold Brooks, one of the scientists involved with the study, says it's not completely clear what the cause of this seasonal shift is, but climate change could be playing a role.
"As the country has warmed up we'd have moisture available for storms a little earlier in the year, and the jet stream is moving farther north a little bit earlier than it has been," said Brooks.
We asked Texomans today if they noticed a change in storm season...
"Well personally I haven't noticed anything," said one Texoma resident.
"I haven't noticed that it's earlier, in fact we haven't had a tornado in Wichita since 1979," said another.
That reaction doesn't surprise Brooks. He likens the storm season shifting about two weeks over a half a century to a temperature change across the entire planet.
"An average temperature change across the planet of a degree or so is something that people don't notice in their day to day lives," Brooks explained.
But it doesn't mean it's not important.
While Brooks says the few week change doesn't immediately affect public safety, it does present new challenges that we have to deal with in the near future.
"We start running into things like tornadoes happening during the school year more often," Brooks warned, "so we have a different population that's vulnerable."
So far this year there have been 905 preliminary tornado reports across the United States. Over a third of them were recorded in the months of April and May.