Owning a tornado shelter or storm shelter is a good idea for those living in the “Dixie Alley” or Southeast part of the United States. Especially as the occurrences of killer tornadoes are becoming more frequent in this region compared to other areas in the country.
It seems there has been a significant shift to Dixie Alley tornadoes compared to Tornado Alley.
Historical Data On Tornadoes
One of the most difficult challenges about recording tornadoes is collecting evidence of their existence. They’re very unpredictable and usually last only a few minutes, unlike rainfall or temperature changes. There are thousands of small tornadoes that may go undocumented to this day.
John Park Finley did much of the early research on this natural phenomenon with a book aptly titled Tornadoes published in 1887. He worked hard to prove that tornadoes could be forecasted and set rules on meteorological forecasting today.
More tornadoes have been reported over the past decades with increased coverage, population, and interest. Recent studies have shown no definite pattern in the number of stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years, but they occur more during afternoons and evenings.
There is no national tornado season, but there is increased likelihood in specific regions during some months. Winter months have the least number of reported tornadoes in recent years.
Tornado Alley is a name given to an area in the Southern part of the United States that consistently experiences high quantities of tornadoes annually. This area has no definite scope, but it covers central Texas, northern Iowa, central Kansas, central Nebraska, and western Ohio.
This area is ideal for the formation of supercell thunderstorms, which often produce EF-2 or greater tornadoes. EF-2 tornadoes are defined as those with speeds of up to 135 mph and can cause considerable damage.
About a thousand tornadoes hit the United States annually, and most of them occur in the Tornado Alley. Around 77% of these tornadoes are considered weak and can cause light to moderate damage.
Tornadoes in the Dixie Alley have drastically increased over the past four decades. Dixie Alley stretches from eastern Texas and Arkansas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, western Kentucky, South Carolina, and western North Carolina, and reaches southeast Missouri.
Tornadoes have also decreased in the central and southern Plains, or the region known as Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley still accounts for the most tornadoes, but the Southeastern states are catching up in quantity and experiencing more killer tornadoes, resulting in higher casualty rates.
As per The Tornado Project, four out of the top five states regarding killer tornadoes as a percentage of all tornadoes are from the Dixie Alley area.
Only Ohio is from Tornado Alley.
This CNN article confirms that the tornadoes in the USA have been shifting to the Southeastern states:
- More tornadoes are appearing in the Southeastern states, and they’re the ones taking a devastating toll.
- Tornadoes in the Dixie Alley are harder to spot and often happen at night.
- Tornadoes in this area tend to stay on land longer and move faster, causing more damage. It’s not uncommon for tornadoes here to move faster than fifty mph.
- More tornado-related deaths occur in Dixie Alley than in Tornado Alley.
- The National Weather Service reports that Alabama, Missouri, and Tennessee have the highest tornado fatalities per year from 1985 until 2014.
Weather experts have not yet perfected detecting tornadoes and there is little we can do to avoid them. The best thing to do is to prepare ourselves in advance in case of Dixie Valley tornadoes.
While RemainSafe believes we offer some of the best FEMA compliant tornado shelters or storm shelters in the region, we encourage you to look at all the options when it comes to protecting yourself or your family. It’s important to have an emergency preparedness plan when seconds count.