The United States: Tornado Alley of the World

Does it ever seem like when a destructive tornado hits, it most commonly occurs in the United States? It may be true that all countries and continents on Earth are capable of producing a tornado, but why is the United States in such a hot zone? What you should know first is that the United States averages approximately 1,000 tornadoes per year while the rest of the world averages around 250, most of which occur in Canada. Therefore, the United States is responsible for 75-80 percent of the world’s tornadoes. But why? Well, there’s no other place on earth quite like the United States. In order to form a tornado you need cold and warm air to crash at the surface or extremely high winds (like that of a hurricane, more on that later). The Gulf of Mexico provides the warm air to move across the Central Plains, while cold air from Canada and the Rocky Mountains moves over that same area, an area dubbed Tornado Alley. The clash happens when something triggers the air to clash, like a cold front. That clashing air provides the necessary ingredients to spawn tornadoes. Very few areas of the world have that area of cold and warm air clashing. The Central Plains are also unique in that the land is extremely flat and nothing can interfere with those cold and warm air masses colliding.

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