Is Oklahoma part of Tornado Alley? Which states are part of it and is it shifting

In recent weeks, several cities in Oklahoma have been devastated by tornadoes, like Sulphur, Marietta and Barnsdall, along with other states and communities in the South and Midwest.

With the right atmospheric conditions any place can experience a tornado, but the Midwest is often where people think of when they think of these destructive weather phenomenon. To the point it is often referenced as "tornado alley."

But meteorologist have noticed a shift toward the Southeast as the frequency of tornadoes increase in Southern states like Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama over the years.

Here's a look at where tornado alley is and why some believe is is shifting.

Where is tornado alley? Is Oklahoma part of it?

Tornado alley has changed and shifted over the years, but as of 2023 Accuweather lists eight states as being part of this area with a unique combination of geographic and meteorological factors that make it more susceptible to tornadoes.

Only three whole states are part of tornado alley: Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Parts of Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska, eastern Colorado and the northern part of Texas are considered part of the alley.

Is tornado alley shifting?

Commonly there are more tornadoes in tornado alley, but Southern states are baring the brunt of more destructive outbreaks.

Tornadoes in the South tend to be deadlier than those in the Plains because of several factors such as longer, larger tornado paths, expanding population, more mobile homes and more nighttime tornadoes, according to information compiled from the National Weather Service and other weather services.

The Southern states that bare the brunt of this shift are parts of eastern Texas and Arkansas into Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and includes upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina. This area has been referred to as "Dixie Alley" since the 1970s, but weather service institutions — like the Weather Channel — have refrained from using the name in recent years.

When is tornado season in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma tends to see the most tornadoes during the months of April and May, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The state averages 13 tornadoes in April and 34 in May.

In comparison, Texas averages 25 tornadoes in April and 38 in May, and Kansas averages 12 tornadoes in April and 37 in May.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Where is Tornado Alley? Meteorologists notice shift in weather patterns