NOAA's Storm Prediction Center came out with a very interesting statistical tornado map recently:
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For the purpose of this blog, I have made one small change: I overlaid the "Tornado Alley" boundaries (in red), from the map found on The Online Tornado FAQ (also run by SPC). What this map now shows is that every year examined has (on average) fallen outside of what is classically defined as Tornado Alley (the closest years would have been 2007 and 2010, both slow years). Of course, there are other ways to define Tornado Alley ...but this dovetails with hearsay from storm chasers on social media that Tornado Alley isn't what it used to be.
In the article linked above, SPC's Harold Brooks refuses to define any tornado alleys, while AccuWeather's Mike Smith says there are two: "the classic stretch from Dallas to Des Moines, Iowa and Dixie Alley -- northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, northern Mississippi and Alabama."
It's an interesting question. I'll leave you with this video showing tornadoes by month from 1950-2011:
P.S.: The explanation of the SPC map, when shared on Facebook by the SPC, was: "Preliminary tornado reports centroid YTD, 2005-2014. The year is the third slowest start over past 10y with the center of activity about average." The caption on the map reads: "Marker size based on total preliminary reports. Centroid based on average of preliminary lat/lon in Local Storm Reports."
Two days of rare September severe thunderstorms in Pennsylvania have dropped tornadoes and funnel clouds, and I was able to chase some of them.
There are quite a few notable low pressure systems or "cyclones" worldwide today. One of them, Typhoon Meranti, is the biggest in a while.
On the evening of September 5, 1996, as Hurricane Fran approached the North Carolina coast, I embarked on my first-ever hurricane storm chase trip.
Twenty years ago, Hurricane Fran roared into eastern North Carolina, and I was there -- and I've got the VHS tapes to prove it.
Until yesterday, Hurricane Wilma was the last Hurricane to strike the state of Florida, 11 years ago.
Hurricane Irene caused over $16 billion in damage in 2011. A the 5-year anniversary, I look back on my experiences with the storm.