A study conducted – back in 2018 – found that over the past fourty years, Tornado frequency has increased over a “large swath” of the midwest and southeast and decreased in elements of the central and southern Great Plains – region traditionally associated with Tornado Alley.
The study, conducted by Northern Illinois University’s meteorology professor Victor Gensini and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory’s Harold Brooks found significant decreasing trends in frequencies of both Tornado reports and Tornado environments over elements of Texas, Oklahoma and northeast Colorado.
Tornado Alley suffice to say is the top zone for Tornadoes in the United States, however other including the “so-called” Dixie Alley which includes much of the lower Mississippi Valley region are catching up. The researchers identified substantial increasing trends of Tornado reports and Tornado environments in portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.
“Regions in the southeast and midwest are closing the gap when it comes to the number of Tornado reports. It’s not that Texas and Oklahoma do not get Tornadoes, they’re sstill the number one location in terms of Tornado frequency. But the trend in many locations is down over the past 40 years”
Victor Gensini, Northern Illinois University’s meteorology professor
stated that the study also looked at the frequency of Tornadoes in fine-scale
using two individual approaches. The researchers tracked the number of Tornado
reports from 1979 to 2017, whilst investigation regional trends in the daily
frequency of Tornado-environment formation over the same period – 1979 to 2017 –
using an index known as the Significant Tornado Parameter (STP).
used in order to predict severe weather, the index captures the coexistence of
atmospheric elements favourable for producing Tornadoes. Both the number of actual
Tornado reports and the historical STP analysis showed the eastward uptick in
trend is significant for understanding the potential for future Tornado
exposure, damage and casualties. Severe thunderstorms accompanied by Tornadoes,
hail and damaging winds cause an average of five point four billion dollars
each year across the U.S, events with with ten billion or more in damages are
no longer uncommon. Suffice to say we say that with the AL, GA Tornado outbreak
this past Sunday.
research has identified the southeast as particularly vulnerable to Tornadoes.
Simply because of factors such as longer and larger Tornado paths, expanding
population, density, mobile home density and higher night time Tornado
probabilities, most Tornado deaths occur in southeast – mid-south region. There’s
a theme developing here, you can attach this particular theory to the AL, GA
researchers cannot say for certain whether the eastward shift in Tornado
reports and environments might be caused by natural or human-induced climate
change. We have the opinion that it will be more natural. We found this study
fascinating, even a year after it was published. You can read it in full here.