Tornado Alley could change

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Recent trends in where tornadoes have formed suggest that we may be seeing changes in where the greatest number of tornadoes and possibly deadly tornadoes occur.

Over the past 20 years or so, recent trends in tornado numbers have shown us that we are below the 20-year average of about 1,250 tornadoes per year across the United States. In this chart from the Storm Prediction Center, you can see that especially over the past 10 years, we’ve had several years below average.

Tornado statistics(WOW)

We already have a rather busy start to 2022, but with tornadoes to date already very close to the maximum we have ever recorded at this point in each year.

Tornado Chart
Tornado Chart(WOW)

However, most are in the Deep South and may be part of a larger trend or change in where tornadoes occur more frequently. In a study by Victor Gensini of Northern Illinois University in 2018, he finds that the frequency of tornadoes is increasing in parts of the country and decreasing in areas that we have always referred to as “Tornado Alley”.

Along with this, the Storm Prediction Center looked at the number of tornadoes over a 30-year period, from 1985 to 2014. They determined that the highest number of tornadoes still occurred in the traditional “Tornado Alley” states. “, the highest number of tornadoes or deadly tornadoes. deaths tend to occur farther east in the Deep South, especially in the last 10 years of this study.

10-year tornado average
10-year tornado average(WOW)
Tornado fatalities
Tornado fatalities(WOW)

Likely reasons for this include increasing population density as you move east through the country, as well as the frequency of daytime tornadoes in the Great Plains compared to more nighttime tornadoes in the Greater South.

The most recent deadly tornado in Iowa sadly happened last March near Norwalk, Iowa.

However, it has been nearly eight years since there have been tornado fatalities in Nebraska. You must remember the Pilger tornadoes in June 2014. It’s a great streak that I hope I can continue.

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