While the saying "April showers bring May flowers" does apply, the showers are occasionally accompanied by severe storms for Mississippi in what has historically been the most dangerous month for tornadoes.
April is the peak month for tornadoes in Mississippi with 340 confirmed since official records began back in 1950, according to the National Weather Service. This is far and above the most active month followed by March with 232 confirmed tornadoes and November with 229.
Typically, there is at least one major severe weather outbreak including tornadoes that hits Mississippi during the month. However, over the last two months of April in 2012 and 2013, only five tornadoes occurred.
The most active month for tornadoes on record in Mississippi occurred in April 2011 when multiple outbreaks resulted in 67 confirmed tornadoes and 32 fatalities. There were two main outbreaks during that month with one spawning more than 15 tornadoes and another spawning nearly 40 tornadoes across the state.
These outbreaks included a strong EF-3 tornado that tore across parts of the Jackson metro area on April 15. An EF-4 and two rare and powerful EF-5 tornadoes that hit the state later in the month were the most violent and severe.
The violent tornadoes all occurred on the afternoon of April 27. The highest impact tornado, an EF-5, hit the town of Smithville in Monroe County, causing catastrophic damage. A second EF-5 tornado moved through parts of Neshoba, Kemper, Winston, and Noxubee counties. An EF-4 tornado tracked from Smith County across Jasper and Clarke counties and then continued into Alabama, with a total path of 123 miles on the ground.
This was the first time since official records have been kept (1950), that two EF-5 tornadoes occurred on the same day in the state of Mississippi. These two violent tornadoes alone were responsible for 18 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries.
When one looks at long-term statistics for the number of tornadoes, strong to violent tornadoes, long-track strong to violent tornadoes and unfortunately tornado fatalities, the month of April is the most dangerous month in Mississippi.
So far, only four tornadoes have been confirmed this year through April 1.
The NWS expects the state to be threatened by a possible severe weather outbreak late Thursday afternoon into the overnight hours with some strong tornadoes possible, especially over areas along and west of Interstate 55.
Everyone is strongly advised to be prepared in case your area is threatened and to stay updated on the latest weather information as it becomes available.