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Rare November Tornadoes Touch Down From Texas to Kansas

The southern Plains experienced a rare November tornado outbreak Monday night when a powerful storm system spawned more than a dozen tornadoes over the region.

Large, devastating tornadoes spun up over western Kansas and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas, some of which being up to a mile wide.

"In a year of tornado setups that seemed to generally under perform, one of the most impressive patterns of 2015 set off a sizable tornado outbreak [on Monday]," said Mike Smith, Senior Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions.

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Significant tornado outbreaks such as Monday's outbreak are more common in the spring and early summer rather than late fall or early winter due to the availability of moisture-rich air.

By this point in the year, the moisture required for tornado development usually stays farther east, resulting in a higher tornado potential in the Deep South and Mississippi River Valley.

Monday's system was much different than the typical November storm system however, having enough vigor to pull moisture from the Gulf of Mexico all the way back into the High Plains, providing one of the key ingredients for tornado formation.

"Prior to this event, no strong tornadoes have happened in the Texas panhandle, or so far west in Texas this late or later in the calendar year," Smith said.

"Looking at all Novembers since 1950, this was an extremely atypical event for the month when it came to location," he continued.

Fortunately, these tornadoes largely occurred in areas with low populations with there being no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities. However, some communities were still hit hard by the twisters.

Pampa, Texas was one of the towns hit hardest during Monday's tornado outbreak, being hit by two supercell thunderstorms in quick succession.

A hazardous chemical spill was reported in Pampa following the severe weather, but the spill was quickly contained with no widespread impacts.

The same system that produced severe thunderstorms in the southern Plains was also responsible for producing blizzard conditions in Colorado and Kansas.

Just hours after being hit by severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, western Kansas experienced a complete flip in the weather as temperatures plummeted, winds picked up and snow began to fall.

In some cases, blizzard conditions were experienced, making cleanup from the severe weather near impossible.

Monday's severe weather outbreak may be the last of the year for the High Plains, but that does not necessarily mean that the weather will be quiet until the spring.

"As we head deeper into the cool season, tornado frequency - once this system is gone - should generally tend to continue to wane," Smith said.

"However, a strong southern jet associated with El Nino may keep it relatively active across the southern U.S. through the winter."


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Brian Lada at Brian.Lada@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Wxlada. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.