Is ‘tornado alley’ migrating toward Southeast?

Meteorologist talks what this means for SOKY

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The continued rise of tornado outbreaks in recent years has meteorologists seriously considering a shift in severe weather patterns.

Just in the last week tornadoes have devastated parts of the Southeast including Georgia, Alabama, and most recently, Huston, Texas.

WKU Meteorologist & Meteorology Professor Josh Durkee says, “One of the big misconceptions is that the worst weather is always in the plains. Severe weather is everywhere. And we are seeing that this is especially true in the South.”

A potential shift in severe weather patterns raises a very important question for us here in SOKY: Are we now in tornado alley?

“One of the questions I get all the time is, ‘Is the December tornado event in Kentucky a reflection of what the research is showing?’ And you know, these instantaneous events are kind of hard to tease out in the moment. But when we look back on these events, I think there’s a good chance that this is exactly the part of the signal that researchers have been talking to us about for many years now,” said Durkee. “As we’ve increased our ability to document these events, we’re seeing them in places where there are higher population densities, weaker infrastructure, and things like that. And so the result is we’re seeing strong storms affect larger populations.”

While Durkee says no one can fully understand Mother Nature, what we can do is treat all tornado warnings with equal importance.