Destructive tornadoes carving deadly toll in Dixie Alley
In recent years, scientists have noticed an increased frequency of tornadoes in the Southeast, carving a deadly path in what’s called Dixie Alley.
While Tornado Alley in the Great Plains still leads in the number of tornadoes, more are appearing in the South. And tornadoes shifting to this region can take a devastating toll. On Sunday, an EF-4 tornado ripped through Alabama’s Lee County killing 23 people and cutting a path of destruction at least 24 miles long.
It’s not an anomaly that tornadoes appear in the Southeast every year, but they present different vulnerabilities, said Victor Gensini, professor of meteorology at Northern Illinois University.
“As you move east from Kansas to Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, the population density increases rapidly and we also have an issue in the Southeast of more mobile homes,” he said. “If you get hit in a mobile home from a tornado, you’re much more likely to be killed. You just have a really unique exposure and vulnerability problem.”
Gensini was co-author on a study that started tracking tornadoes in 1979 and they observed a shift towards the Southeast around 2008.
Dixie Alley includes portions of East Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Tornado Alley includes the area from central Texas stretching north to Iowa, and from central Kansas and Nebraska east to western Ohio, according to the