Daily Bread for 3.26.22: Why Dixie is the new Tornado Alley

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 34.  Sunrise is 6:45 AM and sunset 7:14 PM for 12h 29m 12s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 35.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima ends as the island is officially secured by American forces.

Professor of Atmospheric Science Ernest Agee writes Tornadoes, climate change and why Dixie is the new Tornado Alley:

In 2016, my students and I published the first paper that clearly showed, statistically, the emergence of another center of tornado activity in the Southeast, centered around Alabama.

Oklahoma still has tornadoes, of course. But the statistical center has moved. Other research since then has found similar shifts.

Map of U.S. showing tornado activity greatest from Louisiana through Alabama and north to Tennessee.
Mean number of days per year with a tornado registering EF1 strength or greater within 25 miles, 1986-2015. NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

We found a notable decrease in both the total number of tornadoes and days with tornadoes in the traditional Tornado Alley in the central plains. At the same time, we found an increase in tornado numbers in what’s been dubbed Dixie Alley, extending from Mississippi through Tennessee and Kentucky into southern Indiana.

In the Great Plains, drier air in the western boundary of traditional Tornado Alley probably has something to do with the fact that tornadoes are a declining risk in Oklahoma while wildfire risk is growing.

Research by other scientists suggests that the dry line between the wetter Eastern U.S. and the drier Western U.S., historically around the 100th meridian, has shifted eastward by about 140 miles since the late 1800s. The dry line can be a boundary for convection – the rising of warm air and sinking of colder air that can fuel storms.

Weather Briefly: Tornadoes:

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