Alabama leads nation with tornado warnings

Is Alabama a new 'tornado alley'?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new map shows that Alabama leads the nation right now in tornado warnings.

And on March 17, 2021 Alabama had 21 tornadoes across the state.

NWS Birmingham said there have been 25 tornadoes this year. By statewide tornado count for a single event, the March 17, 2021 event ranks at number 6 according to NWS Birmingham.

Multiple tornado warnings filled our TV screens Wednesday as mother nature kept the First Alert Weather team on its toes.

Alabama has seen dozens of tornado warnings since January, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet map measuring those storms through today. That map shows 43 but the National Weather Service says it’s 60 so far. We’re outpacing the traditional tornado alley in Oklahoma and Kansas.

“It’s been determined for some years now, looking at the statistics, that there is a maximum of tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama. We’re kind of in a hot zone known as Dixie Alley,” WBRC FOX6 News Chief Meteorologist JP Dice said.

Alabama’s geography could be one of the factors leading to the increase in warnings says JP.

“It’s our proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, so we have this rich source of warm, unstable air that just kind of funnels to the north. Then you have these approaching storm systems that are really wind shear producers and that marriage between the two, produces tornadoes,” Dice said.

JP says it’s important to note that the local national weather service doesn’t just issue warnings just to issue them.

“Keep in mind the Birmingham National Weather service office has a very low false alarm rate. They’re not issuing those warnings unless there is really a lot of credibility in the data that they’re looking at and most of their warnings verify with a survey that a tornado actually happened,” Dice added.

As we go further into the spring severe weather season, we cannot stress this enough, have multiple ways to receive alerts and have a safety plan in the event mother nature decides to take a turn for the worse.

A study in 2013 found that the new “tornado alley” may be in the Southeast.

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