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TORNADO ALLEY: Where is it and what you need to know

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Tornado Alley is known for having a more intense and significant number of tornadoes than other parts of the country.

Key Highlights

Tornado Alley is a part of the United States with the high potential for tornado development

The area is most active from April to June

30% of all confirmed tornadoes have happened in Tornado Alley since 1950

Where is Tornado Alley?

Tornado Alley is a part of the central United States with a unique combination of geographic and meteorological factors that make it more susceptible to tornadoes. This area encompasses much of northern Texas northward through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri and parts of Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado.

 While it's known for having a higher frequency and intensity of tornadoes than other parts of the country, it is essential to remember that tornadoes can occur anywhere.

Classic toronado alley

Why do more tornadoes happen in this area?

Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico meets cold, dry air from Canada in the heart of the United States. As a result, it creates a volatile mix of weather conditions, which can produce intense thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes. According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski, the dry air actually originates from the Mexican Plateau and is guided northward just east of the southern and central Rockies. The air remains elevated, causing a temperature inversion over the northward-advancing moist, unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Tornado Alley is most active from April to June, but Kottlowski says the ingredients start to come together for activity toward late February and March. In fact, during the first three months of 2023, we saw several tornado outbreaks, including one that spawned an EF-4 tornado in MississippiDespite covering only 15 percent of the U.S., 30 percent of all confirmed tornadoes have happened in Tornado Alley since 1950. Some evidence suggests that the boundaries of Tornado Alley may be shifting. While traditionally, the core area of Tornado Alley is in the central U.S., research shows that tornado activity may be increasing in other areas, including the southern U.S. 

>>READ MORE: The EF Scale: What is it and how are tornadoes measured?

How can AccuWeather For Business help your business better prepare?

AccuWeather For Business can help your organization better prepare by providing access to one on one consultations with a storm warning meteorologist before, during, and after severe weather. When tornadoes are in the forecast, AccuWeather For Business provides an average of 16 minutes of advance notice compared to an average of 8 minutes from other sources.

 >>READ MORE: When minutes matter: how to plan for and respond to a SkyGuard Tornado Warning

Better prepare your business for severe weather threats.

Talk to an AccuWeather Expert today.