Tornado Alley shifting east through the decades

Weather News

Over the past four decades, research from Northern Illinois University suggests the traditional tornado alley in the Great Plains is beginning to shift east, with more tornadoes popping up in the southeast and Midwest, and fewer in the central and southern Plains.

But even Massachusetts is seeing a slight uptick in twisters, and for many, that hits close to home. 

“I feel a little–a little nervous about that. After us experiencing our tornado several years ago, you know, it’s something we have to pay close attention to,” Jose Perez from West Springfield told 22News. 

Now the tornado alley is still the top spot for tornadoes in the United States, but areas to the east are catching up.

The tornado alley typically targets Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, but the research suggests sharp increases in tornado activity near Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama.

Just Monday, a catastrophic tornado outbreak in Alabama killed 23 people.

While locally we aren’t seeing nearly as strong of an increase in twisters compared to the Dixie Valley, the number is still on the rise, along with most of the east coast. Scientists don’t know the exact reason for the shift, but they believe drier conditions in the Plains and better tornado reporting may play a part. 

The Commonwealth currently sees an average of 2 to 3 tornadoes every year. 

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