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Baltimore, Washington saw fewer severe storms in 2013

A reader-shared image of a funnel cloud near Brooklyn.
A reader-shared image of a funnel cloud near Brooklyn. (Mathieu Lafleur for The Baltimore Sun)

There were fewer severe weather events in Baltimore this spring and summer after two consecutive busy years, thanks in part to cooler temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office tallied 185 severe thunderstorm warnings this year through Aug. 31, less than half of the 308 warnings during the same period of 2012 and 412 warnings during the same period of 2011.

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The number of tornado warnings also fell, to 20 through Aug. 31 of this year, down from 35 last year and 80 the year before. Eleven tornadoes have been confirmed in Maryland this year, all of them rated EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, the weakest rating.

"After consecutive summers with record-breaking temperatures and hundreds of severe weather warnings, this year has been cooler and much quieter in terms of severe weather," Greg Schoor, a weather service general forecaster, wrote in the Baltimore/Washington office's quarterly newsletter.

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There were cool trends through both the early spring and much of the summer, making for less instability in the atmosphere to stir storms.

Many of the severe weather reports came from a spate of storms in mid-June, during which 10 tornadoes were confirmed across Maryland and Northern Virginia, Schoor said.

Severe weather is down across the nation in 2013 when measuring by tornadoes. So far this year, 771 tornadoes have been confirmed, according to preliminary counts. That is the lowest since at least 2005 and is about half of the long-term average.

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