There's a general consensus in the scientific literature that severe thunderstorms strike the United States with more frequency and greater intensity than anyplace else in the world. Each year, tornadoes claim about 60 lives, while insurance losses due to hailstorms sometimes exceed $1 billion in a single event. March, April, and May are the months that challenge the skills of forecasters, stretching their abilities to analyze a broad range of radar, satellite, surface, and thermodynamic data for a situation only hours away.
TIM VASQUEZ is a former Air Force forecaster and author of Digital Atmosphere, a weather forecasting software program. He lives near Norman, Oklahoma, where he keeps busy as a weather consultant and software developer.