2011 Tornado

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Frequently Asked Questions...

May 2011 tornado information?

I'm a bit of a weather/tornado/thunderstorm fanatic. I'm 12 and I want to be a meteorologist/storm chaser. I live about 5 miles away from Joplin, the town that was recently hit by a terrible tornado. This past 3 years our area has had about 4 bad tornadoes. All EF5's. I was wondering why southwest Missouri and other southern states have been having stronger tornadoes and not the actual "Tornado alley" because Joplin isn't in tornado alley. Just beside it? Or, do you think it's more of a freak thing that would happen about once a century or something? I guess my question is, has the area that storms set up shifted or are the things just once in a life time. Bonus, do you know any good articles about the Joplin tornado other than the Kansas City star one?

Best Answer...


"Tornado Alley" isn't a meteorological designation- it was a term more created by the media. As a result, there is no defined area for it. In the case of this past spring's tornadoes, historical data shows that massive tornado outbreaks are common in the spring following a winter that was dominated by a strong La Nina cycle. Besides this past year, other examples of this would be the March 2006 outbreak, and the 1974 Super Outbreak.