Here's What Climate Scientists Told Us About the Louisiana Tornadoes

February 8th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

At least seven tornadoes hit the ground in Louisiana on Tuesday, including a devastating tornado in New Orleans East that injured dozens of people and caused severe damage to homes.

Now the storm is sparking discussion about future weather patterns.

"This is an odd time of year to have tornadoes," Louisiana State Climatologist Dr. Barry Keim told ATTN: "We get tornadoes at every time of year, but the real season is usually spring not winter."

The unusual timing of the severe storms led to some speculation about climate change on social media.

And they shared frightening photos of the destruction.

You can see where the storms touched down in this Google map by the Times Picayune.

ATTN: talked to Louisiana State Climatologist Dr. Barry Keim about the tornadoes and climate change.

Keim said that tornadoes are all related to the same weather system.

"Each of the tornadoes is an individual, let's put it that way, but they're a part of the same weather system," he said. "By and large all these storms are spawned by the same weather conditions."

He said that it's hard to say whether global warming can be directly attributed to these tornadoes, but it's possible.

"Whether global warming is having an impact, it's certainly possible. It's plausible," said Keim. "It's hard to give attribution directly to global warming, but certainly it's possible and it makes sense, but right now it's just kind of speculation."

Keim said that high humidity levels do affect the development of tornadoes and that is tied to warmer sea temperatures.

"Global warming would lead to warmer temperatures and that would lead to warmer sea temperatures, so you could maybe say that the high humidity levels were party due to global warming, but it's just too hard to say," he said.

The most important way to talk about climate change "with confidence" is to look at long-term trends over many years, according to Keim.

"We know the climates warming, that's pretty well established," he said. "But all the other impacts that are stemming from that is not really clear."

Regardless of whether global warming is tied to the tornadoes, people in Louisiana need your help.

Louisiana residents are still recovering from August 2016 floods that displaced thousands of people from their homes.

"I am heartbroken to once again see Louisiana families suffering in the wake of devastating tornadoes today," Gov. John Bel Edwards said as he declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. "We are working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen affected by this storm receives the resources they need as quickly as possible."

The Times-Picayune assembled a list of organizations accepting donations for tornado victims, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Second Harvest.

RELATED: Media Neglects to Show These Photos of Louisiana's Flooding