The central United States is home to a lot of tornadoes. They’re a weather phenomenon that many people have seen and heard about in movies like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Twister”.
Tornadoes occur when contrasting air masses collide and produce thunderstorms. These storms can be powerful and cause serious damage.
In order to help people prepare for a tornado, Oklahoma has some severe weather guidelines that residents should be familiar with. These guidelines include avoiding outdoor activities when severe weather is expected and always staying indoors when possible.
The term “tornado alley” is a loosely defined area of the United States and Canada that sees a high frequency of tornadoes. It was first used in 1952 as the title of a research project that studied severe weather in areas including Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa.
It’s generally considered to be an area running from north-central Texas through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska. Some people include parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well.
Historically, tornadoes are more likely to happen during the spring. The reason is because the Plains have more flat terrain and few trees, says David Bluestein of the National Weather Service.
Another reason is because the weather in these areas is more stable, he says. In the Plains, storms tend to occur at the same time of day and are usually on the ground for at least an hour.