Tornado Alley May Be Shifting East: More Tornadoes for Missouri?
During one of the stormy nights over the past few weeks I turned on the Weather Channel. While hearing about the various storms that night one of the things I learned was meteorologists have observed tornado alley is moving east. What does that mean for us? The possibility of more tornadoes, maybe.
It's not like living in the Midwest has meant no tornadoes. I grew up in a town that was devistated by a tornado in 1967. My wife Kathy grew up near Plainfield, Illinois which took a direct hit from a tornado in 1990. And the fact that Sedalia and Warrensburg both have tornado shelters that open in severe weather ... well you get my point. We may be seeing more tornadoes, but it wasn't like the Midwest has ever been tornado free.
Traditonally when meteorologists refer to tornado alley they mean Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma. When we moved to Lubbock, we certainly expected rough springs with lots of tornado watches and warnings. In the six years we were there, that didn't happen very much
Part of the reason why taditional tornado alley states are seeing less tornadoes: The Great Plains has been drier. Climate change. Or just the fact that tornado reporting in some other areas has gotten better. Take your pick of one or all. At least those are some of the theories I read about in the Weather Channel's article.
Research indicates Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessse and Mississippi are seeing more tornadoes. And they have since the end of the 1970's. This according to a study published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science cited by The Weather Channel.
Aditionally, most states East of the Mississippi River are seeing more tornadoes. And Missouri ranks as one of the four deadliest states for tornadoes. This observation concerns meteorologists and public safety officials because if tornado alley is shifting, it's shifting into areas with significantly more people.
So what does all this mean? Aside from the possibility of more tornadoes. It means more towns and cities spending more on tornado preparedness and awareness. Better warning systems and ways for cities to keep their citizens safe before, during and after tornadoes and severe storms. More infastructure to deal with the aftermath of tornadoes. It may mean more homes with storm shelters or basements. It means we all need to be more weather aware.