Climate Change May Be Shifting ‘Tornado Alley’ East

Apr 11, 2023

Tornado Alley is Shifting

Tornado Alley may be shifting eastward due to climate change, scientists say. Tornado Alley is a part of the US. It stretches from Texas to Canada and from eastern Colorado to Mississippi.

As proof, some cite the twisters that struck 14 states at the start of April. Those storms killed dozens of people. Nine of the tornadoes were "EF3s." They carry wind speeds of up to 165 mph. 

"This is … what we might  expect to happen in a … active tornado season as we move forward," a professor told ABC News.

A warming climate increases moisture and atmospheric instability. That means more tornadoes will form in areas where they are less common. Scientists also expect climate change to make tornado season longer. The season usually lasts from March to May.  

A 2018 study found that tornadic activity had risen in eastern states. The number of tornadoes dropped slightly in the Great Plains.

At the same time, cities such as Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte have grown in population. That means tornadoes striking those areas will be much deadlier and will cause more destruction. It doesn't help that the South is home to the most mobile homes and some of the least strict building codes.

“There are basically more targets to hit on the dartboard,” a lead author of the 2018 study and an NIU professor told NBC News.  

Based on information in the infographic, which state is most likely to experience less tornadoes as weather patterns shift eastward? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. Kansas
b. Oklahoma
c. Arkansas
d. Mississippi
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