The Dixie Alley is a name generally used to refer to a region of the United States that is exceptionally susceptible to strong tornadoes. The Dixie Alley is substantially distinct from the more famous Tornado Alley which is situated close to the Dixie Alley. The origin of the term Dixie Alley can be traced back to Allen Pearson who at the time served as the director of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center.
Where Is Dixie Alley?
Dixie Alley includes eleven American states across the lower Mississippi Valley. These include North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas.
The American state of Texas is one of the most tornado-prone regions in the US. Data from the National Weather Center indicates that on average, Texas experiences approximately 132 tornadoes annually although some areas experience far more than others. The county of Harris within the state is the most affected, experiencing about 212 tornadoes striking the county from 1950 to 2007. In 1967, about 232 tornadoes hit Texas which was more than in any other year. The most significant number of tornadoes to affect Texas within a single day struck on September 20, 1967. Texas spans approximately 268,581 square miles and due to its large size, ranks 11th in the US in tornado density.
Mississippi spans an area of about 48,430 square miles, and according to the National Weather Center, Mississippi is at high risk from tornadoes, mainly from those in the E-F-4 and E-F-5 categories which are usually fatal when they cover a distance greater than 100 miles. Since 1950, the state of Mississippi has been the most affected by these tornadoes as 7 of the 22 that occurred nationally affected the state. One of the counties in Mississippi, Smith County, is significantly affected by tornadoes and according to meteorologists from the National Weather Service is America's most tornado-prone county.
The state of Alabama covers an area of approximately 52,419 square miles in the American southeast. Tornadoes have affected Alabama over a long period with 1932 being one of the most affected years. On March 21 of that year, 15 tornadoes struck the state, and they were exceptionally fatal. The outbreak affected other states as well such as Illinois and Kentucky, but it was most lethal in Alabama. Tornadoes have caused significant property damage within Alabama's territory with one of the deadliest destroying more than 300 homes. Apart from destroying property, tornadoes have caused several deaths and injury within the state of Alabama. A tornado that struck the county of Talladega was substantially lethal as it caused 41 fatalities and led to injuries of 325 people.
Safety During a Tornado
Due to the prevalence of tornadoes in some regions, the governments in those areas put in place several measures to ensure the safety of their citizens. Individuals living in tornado-prone regions are provided with sufficient information and training to ensure that they stay safe during the tornadoes. The governments also closely monitor the weather to alert the citizens in case of an emergency. Buildings are also constructed to specific standards to ensure that they can withstand the impact of the tornado.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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