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Mississippi
184
Texas
160
Alabama
117
Minnesota
77
Florida
73
Kansas
68
Louisiana
61
Arkansas
56
Georgia
56
Iowa
53
Colorado
39
Illinois
34
Wisconsin
34
Ohio
32
Kentucky
31
Nebraska
31
Oklahoma
28
South Carolina
28
South Dakota
27
North Dakota
20
North Carolina
17
Virginia
16
Indiana
13
Missouri
11
Arizona
7
Pennsylvania
7
Maryland
6
Oregon
6
New York
5
Tennessee
5
California
4
Utah
4
Michigan
3
Montana
2
New Hampshire
2
New Jersey
2
New Mexico
2
Vermont
2
Washington
2
West Virginia
2
Connecticut
1
Idaho
1
Nevada
1
Wyoming
1

Tornado Alley States 2023

Tornado Alley States 2023

The term Tornado Alley was coined in 1952 by U.S. Air Force meteorologists Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush in a 1952 paper studying severe weather patterns in midwestern states. Tornado Alley traditionally refers to the corridor-shaped region in the Midwestern United States where tornadoes typically occur.

While it is not an official designation, the states most commonly included are Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, and South Dakota. However, experts say that the data indicates Tornado Alley is shifting east as more activity is occurring in the belt between Louisiana and Illinois. While not geographically part of tornado alley, Florida has one of the highest incidents of tornadoes per square mile. Tornadoes have appeared in every state, though they occur most frequently in the southern part of the country.

Tornado Severity and Damages

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks data on weather patterns in the United States, approximately 1,000 tornadoes are reported annually.

Ranking Tornadoes

Tornadoes are measured on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which classifies tornadoes with ratings from EF-0 to EF-5, according to their estimated wind speeds and damage assessments following an event.

EF-0

An EF-0 is characterized by wind gusts estimated between 105 and 137 kilometers per hour (65 and 85 miles per hour) and minor environmental damage, including broken tree branches and damaged chimneys.

EF-1

An EF-1 has wind gusts between 138 and 177 kilometers per hour (86 and 110 miles per hour) and causes minor environmental damage. Smaller structures may be flipped, roof tiles and windows may be damaged, and tree trunks may snap.

EF-2

An EF-2 is characterized by gusts between 178 and 217 kilometers per hour (111 and 135 miles per hour). The environmental damage is considerable and may include destroyed mobile homes, damaged roofs, flying debris, and uprooted trees.

EF-3

At an EF-3, wind gusts between 218 and 266 kilometers per hour (136 and 165 miles per hour) occur. Severe damage is observed, such as walls ripped from buildings and several uprooted trees.

EF-4

An EF-4 is characterized by wind gusts estimated between 267 and 322 kilometers per hour (166 and 200 miles per hour). Devastating environmental damage is also present, including destroyed homes and cars that have been blown away.

EF-5

An EF-5 is characterized by winds at or above 322 kilometers per hour (over 200 miles per hour). At this level, a tornado can lift homes off their foundations, strip bark from trees, and throw debris the size of a car through the air.

The average tornado only stays on the ground for 5 minutes, and approximately 77% rate between EF-0 and EF-1, with about 95% below EF-3. Only .01% of tornadoes reach the highest category of EF-5. Even so, tornadoes can cause many fatalities and significant property damage at any level.

Tornadoes by State

In 2021, there were 1,377 tornadoes that accounted for 101 deaths. The states in Tornado Alley tend to see the most severe of these storms and incur the most fatalities.

Oklahoma leads the nation for severe storms, having experienced 65 EF-4/F4+ tornadoes between 1950 and 2016. Texas is second (52), followed by Iowa (51), Kansas (49), and Alabama (42).

The nation's deadliest tornado struck the heart of Tornado Alley, hitting Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The 1925 tri-state tornado outbreak hit Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, leaving an estimated 1.5 billion dollars in damage and 695 fatalities. More recently, the 2011 super outbreak in Joplin, Missouri claimed 158 lives and caused $2.8 billion in damages.

Average Tornadoes Annually by State

The following states, most of which make up Tornado Alley, see the most tornado activity in an average year:

Tornado Alley States 2023

Download Table Data

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State
Tornadoes 2022
Fatalities 2022
Tornadoes 2021
Fatalities 2021
Tornadoes 2020
Fatalities 2020
Tornadoes 2019
Fatalities 2019
Mississippi1841921127121382
Texas1603118110241882
Alabama117310077859525
Minnesota773769154
Florida732326525
Kansas684627127
Louisiana614501555973
Arkansas564124131
Georgia5615775960
Iowa5377028531
Colorado39483453
Illinois348067137
Wisconsin34282232
Ohio323719591
Kentucky3157732328
Nebraska31533544
Oklahoma2813931299
South Carolina282457818
South Dakota271921123
North Dakota20212214
North Carolina1719354259
Virginia1691524
Indiana13193939
Missouri1150227983
Arizona76410
Pennsylvania7441634
Maryland611216
Oregon6344
New York514104
Tennessee5664382716
California45716
Utah44
Michigan321726
Montana2126
New Hampshire2
New Jersey21399
New Mexico2182121
Vermont221
Washington2222
West Virginia223
Connecticut1861
Idaho15
Nevada131
Wyoming12130
Alaska
Delaware271
District of Columbia2
Hawaii
Maine21
Massachusetts733
Rhode Island21
showing: 51 rows

Tornado Alley States 2023

Sources