By Gabe Correa
Jan. 3, 2009

Due to the tornadoes frequent happening in the southern states more and more, like Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky with many deaths in those states because of it. Dr. Charles Doswell explains about Tornado Alley and says is where most tornadoes are most frequent, that's called Tornado Alley. The term Tornado Alley did not come from the experts or meteorologists, it came from the news media, that coined the word tornado alley.

Since the southern states are having more frequent tornadoes now, and more tornadoes every year thru out these states, Dr. Charles Doswell (storm chaser) explains that they are now in tornado alley, but coined the word, Dixie Alley. The new maps below show Dixie Alley joining Tornado Alley. If you click on my link on Tornado Frequency, you'll see over the years we are having more tornadoes now, than in the past, especially in the southern states.

Storm Chasers (Dixie Alley Outbreak)

Where is Tornado Alley?

By Tim Baker

Some consider tornado alley as the area where only the most intense killer tornadoes are likely to occur, looking where EF4 and EF5 tornadoes have struck in history multiple times. Others draw tornado alley only where tornado frequency is the highest, looking at areas that have recorded multiple tornado touchdowns consistently year after year. Some years certain states seem to get enough tornadoes to qualify as part of tornado alley but, when looking at tornadoes over many years in that state you see that it was just an unusual period for them. With many areas experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, traditional tornado alley maps don't seem to represent those climate changes accurately.

I believe we need to rethink where tornado alley is with these climate changes. A warm January will lead to a shift in tornadoes to more north and eastern states than traditional tornado alley maps represent.

Many arguments over what states are in tornado alley take place, so to be fair qualify what criteria you are using in determining tornado alley. In 2004 people in Illinois were at greater risk than most of the areas people think of as tornado alley.

If you were to be exact about tornado alley, it would really be made up of hundreds of little strips, and never one large alley. Tornado alley maps are all made up of a general area from data taken over a long period of time. Tornado alley should be thought of on a more yearly basis also, since weather patterns can change, making some states harder hit one year versus others, like Illinois in 1925, 1974 and 2004.

Some people have asked if tornadoes appear everywhere in tornado alley. The fact is on all tornado alley maps there are areas that have never had a tornado hit there. Remember, not every city in tornado alley has been struck by a tornado while others have had many tornadoes hit them.

The 1974 super tornado outbreak took place in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. How many maps include these states in Tornado Alley? Not very many, some don’t include any of them; even I don’t include all of them. States such as Florida also have many small tornadoes but because the intensity of most of them is low, it is seldom considered as part of Tornado Alley by anyone.

In 1925 the Tri-State tornado killed 695 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, yet many don’t include these in Tornado Alley, I do. In November 2002 a tornado outbreak took place in Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio, Killing at least 36 people. Friday, September 20th 2002 a tornado outbreak hit Indiana, I include these states in Tornado Alley, others don't. History tells me Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee are dangerous tornado states.


By Greg Nordstrom
June 5, 2010

As a meteorologist/storm chaser I hear about Tornado Alley all the time! There is no doubt that more tornadoes occur in this alley/region compared to any other alley/region in the United States. However, there is another alley where some of the strongest long tracked tornadoes of all time have occurred.This alley is called Dixie Alley and I'm here to say it's very real and very dangerous! The Yazoo City, MS monster (1.75 miles wide) long track (149 miles) EF-4 tornado on 4/24/10 is a great example of this.

Dixie_alley.jpg - 95807 Bytes This alley includes the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. One of the many differences between Dixie Alley and Tornado Alley, is Dixie Alley gets a lot more tornadoes during the fall/winter months (November-March) than Tornado Alley. So, Dixie Alley really has three distinct tornado seasons (fall, winter, spring). The typical April, May, June season and another clear season from November through March. If you think about it, the Deep South doesn't get much of a break from October/November through May/June. Interesting stat for you that I still believe applies today, Alabama has had more tornadoes (recorded) in November than any other month! Most people have no idea how many tornadoes Dixie Alley gets in November.

Another aspect that makes Dixie Alley just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than Tornado Alley, is the fact that a lot of the supercells in the Deep South are HP (High Precipitation) in nature. This is due mostly to the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico (added moisture). The Deep South already has WAY more trees than the Great Plains, so typically having HP supercells just makes things even more dangerous. It's SO HARD to see the tornado! As someone that has chased in Mississippi more than almost any other chaser out there, trust me, it's EXTREMELY hard to chase in the Deep South. Also, it can be very dangerous if you don't know what you are doing!

Not only are there a lot of the HP Supercells, where rain wraps around a lot of your tornadoes, Dixie Alley tends to get more tornadoes at night compared to Tornado Alley... I personally feel this is again due to the close proximity of the Gulf of Mexico... The extra moisture helps keep your instability up throughout the night. Also, during the winter season the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico plays a big role in why the Deep South has enough moisture/instability to sustain supercells capable of producing tornadoes. I would also argue that this close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico helps lower LCL/LFC heights (more moisture/lower dewpoint depression) which makes it easier for an updraft to ingest streamwise horizontal vorticity in the vertical.

Some more interesting facts for you. Mississippi has unfortunately had 3 of the top 7 deadliest tornadoes of all time. Dixie Alley on average has more (slightly) strong long tracked tornadoes than Tornado Alley. Also, unfortunately Dixie Alley on average has many more killer tornadoes than Tornado Alley. This is mainly due to the lack or visibility (terrain & HP supercells), occurrence at night, and having so many more people living in mobile homes. Keep in mind that there is a higher population in Dixie Alley as well! There are many more stats that I'll let you look into, as I'll leave a link to an amazing powerpoint on Dixie Alley... The powerpoint is based off a paper done by Alan Gerard, who is the MIC at Jackson, MS. I'll also leave a link to a write up done by James Spann on Alan Gerard's interesting paper!

I state all of this NOT to have some sort of competition/debate on which alley is worse! I honestly don't care, because it's not important! I state all of this to show people that Dixie Alley is real, and is a danger to all the people living within it! So much more tornado research is done in Tornado Alley (for obvious reason like visibility), but I would still love to see more research done in Dixie Alley to hopefully better educate the people living in the Deep South about the unique tornado dangers they face! From the dozens and dozens of school talks I have done over the years across the state of Mississippi, I have overwhelmingly found that many feel the tornadoes they see on TV in Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas, are the same tornadoes we get here in the Deep South! That is rarely the case, and is one of my main reasons for pushing more education across the Deep South about Dixie Alley... Just because you can't see the tornado, doesn't mean it's not there!!!

I will say more research has been done on Dixie Alley in the last 10 years or so, which is without a doubt a positive. However, it's obviously not enough because so many have no idea that Dixie Alley even exists, let alone understand the unique dangers it presents! All I can do is continue to educate as many people as I can through school talks, blog posts, storm chasing, and everyday regular life. I hope this blog post sheds some light on this topic. As someone that lives/teaches in Dixie Alley (Mississippi) I find this topic extremely interesting/important!

Tornadoes Sweep the South, Leaving 355 Dead

By Laura Phillips
April-30-2011, Updated May-22-2011

The National Weather Service has determined the massive tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa County April 27, 2011 was only 10 mph away from being an EF5. That means the Tuscaloosa tornado was a 190 mph vortex.

Tornadoes swept through seven Southern states, leaving at least 355 people dead and billions of dollars of damage in its wake. The National Weather Service also reported 211 confirmed tornadoes reported over several days last week in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and Louisiana, and is the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina, which killed up to 1,800 people in 2005.

Wednesday was the deadliest day of tornadoes in the country since April 3, 1974’s twister, when 310 people died. Wednesday's mile-wide twister ripped through Tuscaloosa and may have been the biggest ever to hit the state according to meteorologist Josh Nagelberg.

President Barack Obama called the loss of life due to the week of tornadoes “heartbreaking,” and said the damage it caused to homes and businesses “nothing short of catastrophic.” He pledged strong federal support for rebuilding.

Reuters reported that whole neighborhoods were flattened, cars were overturned and trees and power lines were down. Rescue officials searched for survivors and found some miraculous survivors who were able to find shelter in bathtubs, closets and basements.

"I made it. I got in a closet, put a pillow over my face and held on for dear life because it started sucking me up," said Angela Smith of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, one of the harder-hit cities. In Birmingham, Alabama, Police Chief A.C. Roper said rescue workers searched "hand to hand" and “… rescued two babies, one that was trapped in a crib when the house fell down on top of the baby," in an interview on PBS NewsHour.

Tornadoes, which are often a routine weather forecast in the South and Midwest, rarely cause so much damage. Insurance experts believe costs could reach the billions. "In terms of the ground-up damage and quite possibly the insured damage, this event will be of historic proportions," Jose Miranda, an executive with the catastrophe risk modeling firm EQECAT, told Reuters.

"I think this is going to rank up as one of the worst tornado outbreaks in U.S. history," said Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate. Fugate spoke in an interview with CNN from Alabama, where his agency said the tornadoes killed at least 254 people.

"We're still trying to get people through rescues and locate the missing," he said. Other states’ officials issued a preliminary report of 34 deaths in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 11 in Arkansas, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia and 1 in Louisiana and Kentucky. In addition, up to one million people in Alabama were left without power and storms struck and destroyed two hundred chicken houses, which held up to four million chickens.

"I want every American who has been affected by this disaster to know that the federal government will do everything we can to help you recover, and we will stand with you as you rebuild," Obama, who declared a state of emergency for Alabama, said at the White House.

This aerial photo shows the devastation of the Cedar Crest and Forest Lake neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Thursday, April 28, 2011. A powerful and deadly tornado cut through Tuscaloosa Wednesday evening on April 27, 2011. The National Weather Service has determined the massive tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa County April 27, 2011 was only 10 mph away from being an EF5. That means the Tuscaloosa tornado was a 190 mph vortex.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the loss of loved ones. Our purpose of putting the videos on Tornado Warning Online web site is to prevent the loss of life. By seeing the devastation of a tornado might save somebody life. Please take action when there is a "Tornado Warning" in your area.

Tuscaloosa Tornado By Jason835a , Length Time: 7:46

This is a video of the EF4 tornado that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama on April 27, 2011. Jason with his video camera realize he was too close to this tornado. The EF4 tornado was a mile wide, and stayed on the ground for 80 miles. The total was 41 dead in Tuscaloosa, Alabama alone.

It was the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in 79 years ripped a 200-mile swath across the state from Tuscaloosa to the Georgia state line, killing 254 Alabamians. In all, killer tornadoes claimed 355 lives in seven states. In addition to Alabama's fatalities, the death toll from other southern states was 34 in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia, 11 in Arkansas, and 1 in Louisiana and Kentucky. The emergency officials reported that at least 1,822 homes were damaged. Hundreds of thousands in several Southern states were facing a fourth day without power, and dozens of shelters remained open. The National Weather Service reported 211 confirmed tornadoes on that horrible day. [Baptist Press - 5/4/11]

Severe Weather and Deadly Storms Strike Tennessee and Other States


(NASHVILLE) - Tennessee experienced at least two waves of severe weather that ranged from high-winds and hail to deadly tornadoes. As of 5:30 AM Wednesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is reporting 26 confirmed fatalities related to the storm activity.

Those deaths, recorded by the Tennessee Department of Health, occurred in the following counties: Shelby, Fayette, Hardin, Macon, Madison, Sumner and Trousdale. More than 149 people have been reported as being injured and one person is presumed missing.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville was activated by TEMA’s Director James Bassham Tuesday night at 6:30 PM CST as the storms began a deadly march across the state from Memphis through Middle Tennessee.

The storm caused several crashes, but the most severe was located West of Jackson, Tenn., on Interstate 40. These crashes, involved more than 25 tractor-trailers and temporarily closed the highway in both directions.

In Memphis, the storm released more than 120,000 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia when a tank was ruptured at the Hardy Bottling Company on East Rains. This release to the atmosphere poses no risk to the public, officials said.

At Union University in Madison County, 16 students were temporarily trapped in a dormitory after it was struck by a tornado. More than 30 people were transported to the Jackson-Madison Hospital.

A fire from a natural gas pipeline at the Columbia Gulf Transmission Co. facility in Hartsville, Tennessee, was highly visible for much of the night. The fire, which has now burned out, reports indicated flames at one time reaching as high as 400 to 500 feet into the air due to the pressurized nature of the long-distance transmission pipeline.

By Justin1569 , Length Time: 7:53

This is a video of the F5 tornado that hit Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007, an F5 tornado struck the town of Elie, Manitoba, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Winnipeg. While several houses were leveled, no one was injured or killed by the tornado.

The following day, Environment Canada sent out a storm damage survey team to assess the damage caused by the tornado. On September 18, 2007, the tornado was upgraded to F5 on the Fujita Scale from the original F4, as winds were determined to be between 420 km/h and 515 km/h (261 and 318 mph), based on video analysis of the tornado and reassessment of the damage[2]. This was the first tornado in Canada to be officially rated as such, making it the strongest confirmed tornado in Canadian history.

By Robwar0100, Length Time: 5:00

Song title: Praise You In This Storm, By Casting Crowns

WOOSTER, Ohio - Sept. 16, 2010 - Shattered glass, broken pieces of concrete and splintered trees and treetops littered the main campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center Thursday evening, Sept. 16, following a major windstorm many say was a tornado. Known as the nation's largest research center of its kind - 400 or more people can be found there on a typical day. Fortunately, the storm hit at about 5:30 p.m., a time when many had just left.

Of those still on campus, no serious injuries were reported. "At this point, it seems as though we may have been very fortunate," said Associate Director Bill Ravlin, commenting from a communications command center Thursday night. The county's Emergency Management director, John Wise, said there was one report of a head injury but said that individual declined to be treated.

By Randy946, Length Time: 3:22

Tornado, Oklahoma City, May 3, 1999

Oklahoma City - November 24, 2006 — Footage of the May 3, 1999 tornado that tore through the southwest side of Oklahoma City. The audio heard on the first part of the video is from TV station KFOR that was simulcasting on FM radio. The other audio is the local Oklahoma City police channel. This video was taken from an on duty police unit, it ends when downed power lines blocked the path and the officer went into rescue mode, shooting no more video the rest of the evening.

At the beginning of the video the tornado was an F4. It then reduced to F3 or F2 for a brief period, then spun back up to an F5 near the end of the video. Oklahoma University's DOW truck recorded a wind speed of 318 mph from this tornado a few minutes prior to the start of this video.

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