GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — You’ve heard of Tornado Alley, but there is another swatch of the country that’s even more prone to violent, killer tornadoes in recent years.
Every spring, tornadoes cause heavy damage and take lives across the Southeast. People think most tornadoes happen in Tornado Alley, a path from Texas into South Dakota.
A map of recorded US tornadoes shows this isn’t the whole case.
While tornado frequency is highest in Tornado Alley, another area stands out. A map from Purdue University shows significant EF3+ tornadoes since 1950. When it’s filtered for deadly tornadoes, an alarming trend emerges.
The area is known as Dixie Valley and is routinely subject to violent tornados. With sprawling mobile homes and poor infrastructure, there’s a lot more for tornadoes to hit.
On April 27, 2011, the largest tornado outbreak in recorded history tore through Dixie Alley. There were 324 deaths in a swarm of 360 tornadoes. Most deaths occurred in Alabama and Mississippi, two of the leading states for tornado fatalities.
In this region, tornadoes are common year-round excluding summer and often take place during the night.
Research from Professor Victor Gensini at Northern Illinois University shows that tornadoes are becoming more common in this region, with climate change being their hypothesis for why.