What Is Tornado Alley?

What is Tornado Alley? in Oklahoma and surrounding areaTornado Alley is a region of the United States that is regularly hit with tornados. Tornado Alley covers the Great Plains and is centered on eastern Kansas and Oklahoma and also included parts of the surrounding states, where tornados are most frequent. The city with the most recorded tornados is Oklahoma City, which also has the strongest winds ever recorded (over 316 mph), during a tornado on May 3, 1999. That tornado also holds the record for the most costly damage - over one billion dollars! 

If you want to know more about Tornado Alley, take a look at the facts below:

  • Tornado Alley is best described as the area where cold dry air, warm dry air and warm moist air clash, making it suitable of thunderstorm and tornado production.
  • Tornado Alley is term mostly used by the media to describe a region or area with a frequency of tornados. The National Weather Service and NOAA have never given an official definition to the term nor specified an actual area that is Tornado Alley.
  • The gulf coast area has its own Tornado Alley which is often referred to the Dixie Alley. Tornados in this area typically occur in late fall.
  • The term Tornado Alley was first used in 1952. The phrase was used as the title of study done on severe weather in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Building codes are often much stricter in areas designated as Tornado Alley in order to help prevent damage to property and loss of life.
  • Tornado Alley is the region that is suitable for the production of supercell thunderstorms. Which can typically produce EF-2/F2 or greater tornados.
  • Tornado Alley is considered to be located in the Southern Plains area of the United States. Tornados in this area typically occur in late spring.
  • The criteria to be in Tornado Alley can vary and is based on the observers representation of what criteria is needed to be met to be in Tornado Alley.

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