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What is Tornado Alley

Updated on April 16, 2013

Where is Tornado Alley?

If you aren't from the south or live in a region that's frequented by tornadoes you may be wondering what is tornado alley? Here you will learn the answer to such questions as where is tornado alley and which states does it include. Also, discover why tornado alley has more tornadoes each year than any other location in the entire United States and how many tornadoes it averages per year. I live in tornado alley. I saw my first tornado when I was 5 and have seen several since then. Read on to learn more about these destructive beasts.

*Image: Tornado on Flickr

Where is Tornado Alley - Tornado alley map

Tornado Alley Map
Tornado Alley Map

Tornado alley begins in central Texas and stretches northward into Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, and eastward into central Illinois and Indiana.

What Causes Tornado Alley - Why tornadoes frequent tornado alley

There are many reasons why tornadoes tend to form and be more destructive in tornado alley versus any other location in the US.

  1. The main reason the plains in this area are prone to the more devastating tornadoes than any other region in the US is because this is where cold, dry air flowing south from Canada meets the warm, moist air moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. The flat, open lands in these states are prime breeding grounds for tornadoes. Tornadoes cannot grow, stay on the ground, and thrive in mountainous regions or areas with lots of forest.
  3. Tornadic thunderstorms often form just ahead of the dryline. The dryline is a boundary between the hot, dry desert air coming east from the desert to the southwest versus the warm, moist airmass from the Gulf of Mexico.
  4. Spring time produces a lot of atmospheric instability in this region.

Tornado Alley Videos

Do You Live in Tornado Alley?

Do you live in tornado alley?

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What is Tornado Alley

Where is tornado alley and what causes tornadoes there?

What is tornado alley? Well, to me it's home. I've lived in tornado alley my whole life. I've survived five tornadoes. Much of my home town was demolished by a tornado several years before I was born and many of the buildings were never restored, leaving a quarter of our community looking like a ghost town.

Here are some tornado alley facts:

Why do some maps show a larger region for tornado alley?

Some maps and news stations stretch the perimeter of tornado alley out a bit to include areas that get frequent tornadoes, but these tornadoes tend to be less destructive than those in the heart of tornado valley.

What states are in tornado alley?

While some maps include Tennessee, Kentucky, and a handful of other states, everyone agrees that the following states comprise the heart of tornado alley:


*South Dakota
*North Dakota

What time of day do violent storms occur?

Most supercell storms occur between 3:00pm and 9:00pm.

How much warning time do public warning systems give?

The average warning time is 13 minutes. So, when your county is placed under a tornado warning you typically have 13 minutes to prepare and take cover.

Did You Learn Something New About Tornado Alley? - Thank you for visiting

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    • Wendy Leanne profile image

      Wendy Leanne 4 years ago from Texas

      @geosum: I love Texas even though spring time keeps me watching the sky. The people are very friendly and I love the warm weather. Central Texas has more severe than the rest of the state.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      Thanks for an informative lens. I was considering retirement in Texas. I'll dig into this a bit more.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      This is useful information about Tornado Alley it makes me think of those people who actually chase tornados, they actually have storm chasing tours, that is a dangerous hobby to have.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 4 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Loved to be able to visit Tornado Alley .. in pictures! :D

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      My cousin from Indiana came to visit with his son two years ago to storm chase and was treated to a nice one from Dallas/Ft. Worth to OK City! It can be treacherous living in Tornado Alley.

    • waynekat profile image

      waynekat 4 years ago

      Interesting topic. thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I live in Alabama and although we aren't in Tornado Alley, we seem to have more than our share of tornados. Enjoyed your lens.

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Interesting topic! Thank you for your useful lens and congrats for your LOTD! ..

    • faeriesong7 profile image

      Mary Collings 4 years ago from Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland

      Great lens. We don't get tornadoes in the UK but I'd love to come over the pond and go storm chasing! Maybe one day...:)

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      I've heard the term 'Tornado Alley' for years but never really had a solid concept of where it was.

    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines

      Indeed informative. I haven't witnessed a tornado yet.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens! Tornadoes are one of my interests. Very informative lens!

    • theholidayplace profile image

      theholidayplace 5 years ago

      Great info is a very good thing to raise awareness for people in potential dangerous areas

    • KReneeC profile image

      KReneeC 5 years ago

      Such a fascinating and informitive lens! I learned so much about tornados and tornado alley!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      I have often heard the term "Tornado Alley" but did not know where it was located or why that area was prone to tornadoes. Thank you for explaining this tornado phenomenon so well. Seasons blessings.

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 6 years ago

      This is a valuabe topic and wonderful lens. I just did a lens on ham radio hobby to link for preparation for people particularly at Tornado alley. I voted "Like" for this lens. Will visit again soon. Thanks.

    • whiteskyline lm profile image

      whiteskyline lm 6 years ago

      Yes, Man tornadoes are amazing, I have always wanted to see one. Oops, and I just commented on The Secret lens :) Better be careful.

    • JesPiddlin profile image

      JesPiddlin 6 years ago

      If they get rid of the free, local tv, Tornado Alley will be in a lot more danger, due to not having the constant care and monitoring from our local meteorologists, who know so much more about this type of weather than the run-of-the-mill meteorologist. (No offense meant to the bulk of meteorologists, but there's a lot more to know if you want to keep us Okies safe!)