Tornadoes can be a scary weather event! Did you know that some parts of the United States are more prone to getting them? Let’s learn more about this place called Tornado Alley!
What Is Tornado Alley?
When you hear the word ‘alley’, what do you think of? Perhaps a bowling alley? An alley is any long, narrow area or passageway. Alley is also used to describe an area of the United States that experiences quite a lot of tornadoes. It is named Tornado Alley. Unlike a bowling alley, this certainly isn’t a place for fun and games when a tornado is around!
Where Is Tornado Alley?
Tornado Alley is located in the center of the United States in the southern plains.
This includes parts of the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota. The name Tornado Alley was first used in 1952, in a study conducted on the severe weather found in this area. Around 500 tornadoes happen here each year!
What Is a Tornado?
A tornado is a form of extreme weather that is a rotating funnel of fast moving air that extends from a thunderstorm. When a warm air mass and a cold air mass meet, this produces thunderstorms.
To create a tornado, you need a change in wind direction and an upward draft. This generates a spinning effect that becomes a tornado, extending in the shape of an ice cream cone that reaches from the clouds down to the ground.Wind inside of a tornado can reach up to 300 miles per hour! This makes tornadoes very dangerous and they can cause a lot of damage. If there is a tornado nearby, you should quickly get to an interior room or basement to be protected.
Why Are There so Many Tornadoes in Tornado Alley?
Tornado Alley is a more likely place for tornadoes because of the warm air from the Gulf of Mexico in the south collides with the cold air coming down from Canada in the north.
When these two air masses meet, thunderstorms are likely to form, like when two cars collide at high speed. Add an increase in wind speeds and large areas of flat land for the storms to travel across uninterrupted, and you have the ingredients needed for a tornado that can cause some damage!
Tornado Alley is an area of the central United States that has around 500 tornadoes per year. A tornado forms when a mass of warm air collides with a mass of cold air, which is common during the spring in Tornado Alley. Stay safe by going into a basement or interior room.