It's the time of year when a sunny day can turn stormy in an instant! Here in the Ohio, Big Sandy and Kanawha Valleys, we don't have to worry much about tornadoes. On average we have one tornado touch-down in the Tri-State every couple of years.
There's a region to our west which receives more tornadoes than in any other place on Earth and it's known as "Tornado Alley."
Although no U.S. state is entirely free of tornadoes, they are most frequent in the Plains between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. According to the Storm Prediction Center, Oklahoma reports more tornadoes than any other state. Kansas and Texas are second and third respectively. However, the density of tornado occurrences in northern Texas is comparable to Oklahoma and Kansas. Florida also reports a high number and density of tornado occurrences, though only rarely do tornadoes there approach the strength of those that sometimes strike the southern Plains.
Although Tornado Alley is considered to be in the central U.S. no official definition of the term has actually been produced by the National Weather Service. "Tornado Alley" is a term created by the media to refer to areas that have greater numbers of tornadoes. 90% of tornadoes hit this region of the U.S because cold, dry air from Canada and the Rocky Mountains meets warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and hot, dry air from the desert southwest, which combines with atmospheric instability to produce intense thunderstorms.
However that’s not the only tornado alley. There’s another across the southern U.S. known as Dixie Alley.
As we’ve recently seen, this area is no stranger to tornadoes. Typically you’ll see tornadoes in this part of the country in winter and early spring.
The map above shows a third tornado alley which goes from St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville to western Ohio.
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