- Tornado Alley
:"For the book by
William S. Burroughs, see Tornado Alley (book). Tornado Alley is a colloquial term most often used in reference to the area of the United Statesin which tornadoes are most frequent. Although an official location is not defined, the areas in between the Rocky Mountainsand Appalachian Mountainsare the areas usually associated with it.
Although no state is entirely free of
tornadoes, they are most frequent in the Plains area between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains and in the state of Florida. The state where twisters most commonly occur is Oklahoma(notably due to its nature and the area where tornadoes can occur).cite web | title = TORNADO NUMBERS 1950 - 1994 | publisher = Storm Prediction Center| url = http://www.spc.noaa.gov/archive/tornadoes/st-trank.html | accessdate = 2007-04-26 ] When land area is taken into account, however, Floridahas the highest density of tornado occurrence in the country.cite web | title = Tornado Climatology | publisher = National Climatic Data Center| date = January 29, 2007| url = http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html | accessdate = 2007-04-26 ] However nearly all of Florida's tornadoes are weak, short lived and not produced by supercellthunderstorms that originate from cumulonimbus clouds; Oklahomahas the highest occurrence of such "classic" supercellular tornadoes. In contrast, the Northeast and West tend to be the least tornado-prone regions in the United States.
Although Tornado Alley is generally considered to be in the areas of the
Central United States, no official definition of the term has actually been produced by the National Weather Service. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory FAQ, [ [http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/faq/faq_tor.php http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/faq/faq_tor.php] ] "Tornado Alley" is a term created by the media to refer to areas that have greater numbers of tornadoes. There are several ideas of what Tornado Alley is, but those ideas are the result of the different criteria used to refer to it.
ignificant Tornado Alley
Perhaps the most common definition of tornado alley is the location of where the strongest tornadoes occur most frequently. In the United States that location is from
Texas, northward through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and into South Dakota. States to the east of this region do experience strong tornadoes, [ [http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/f5torns.html F5 and EF5 Tornadoes of the United States] ] however they do not occur with the frequency as they do in states to the west.
Time of year
Also to be considered is the time of year. The highest frequency of tornadoes, commonly (but incorrectly) called "tornado season", shifts geographically depending on the season. During the
wintermonths the Southeastern United Statesreceives the highest number of tornadoes. During the months of March - May the threat shifts into the central United States. Then during the summer months the highest concentration of tornadoes tends to shift farther north as the weather warms across the U.S. Technically speaking, however, the central plains may be considered part of the tornado alley almost all-year-round, since this is where "temperature swings" between warm and cold air are most common.
The nickname "
Dixie Alley" is sometimes used for the areas in the southeastern U.S.–notably the lower Mississippi Valleyand the upper Tennessee Valley–which are particularly vulnerable to strong tornadoes. More people have been killed by tornadoes in this particular region than those of the Great Plains because of the higher population density in the southeastern United States. [cite web
title = Southeast tornadoes are nation's deadliest | publisher =
USA Today| date = May 20, 2005| url = http://www.usatoday.com/weather/tornado/wtordead.htm | accessdate = 2007-10-16 ] The term Dixie Alley is used extensively by The Weather Channel.cite web | last = Gerard | first = Alan | coauthors = Gordon, John | title = Tornado Alley vs. Dixie Alley | publisher = National Weather Service | url = http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jan/dixieAlley/img20.html | accessdate = 2007-04-26 ]
In the heart of tornado alley,
building codes are often stricter than those for other parts of the U.S., requiring strengthened roofs and more secure connections between the building and its foundation. Other common precautionary measures include the construction of storm cellars, and the installation of tornado sirens. Tornado awareness and media weather coverage are also high.
Some studies suggest that there are also smaller tornado alleys located across the United States.cite conference |first=Chris |last=Broyles |coauthors=C. Crosbie |title=Evidence of Smaller Tornado Alleys Across the United States Based on a Long Track F3-F5 Tornado Climatology Study from 1880-2003 |booktitle=22nd Conference on Severe Local Storms |publisher=
American Meteorological Society|date=October 2004 |location=Hyannis, MA |url=http://ams.confex.com/ams/11aram22sls/techprogram/paper_81872.htm ]
List of tornadoes and tornado outbreaks
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