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The "New Tornado Alley" May Mean More Midwest Risk

A new study says more tornadoes have been forming in the eastern part of the Midwest.

INDIANAPOLIS--Is Indiana part of the new tornado alley?

A new study suggests tornadoes are popping up more east than ever before, shifting the traditional "Tornado Alley" closer to the Midwest.  

The study in the Journal Climate and Atmospheric Science found that over the past few decades, U.S. tornadoes have shifted. The number of tornados has decreased in Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas but spinning up more in states along the Mississippi River and farther east. including here in Indiana.

It sees a slight decrease in tornado activity in the Great Plains, with the biggest drop in central and eastern Texas. 

The study found it is increasing most in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi,  Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and parts of Ohio and Michigan.

Gabe Fillippelli, an Earth Sciences professor from IUPUI, looked at the study and says it is concerning to see the shift.          

"Think about the great plain states lightly populated, not a lot of big urban centers and this is moving right into an area with Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis." Said Fillipelli. "So big cities with a lot of people. That means the potential loss of life and property increases substantially. The string of tornados are dominated by this mixture of warm wet air and cold dry air and that boundary is shifting eastward. It's either from a natural phenomenon or as the article points out climate change." 
Researchers are calling the new area "Dixie Alley,"  which is an eastward extension of the traditional "Tornado Alley."

Even with the decline, Texas still gets the most tornadoes of any state. 

PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

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