As one might guess, this area of the country is located along and south of the Mason-Dixon line and generally includes parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. So what makes this area an unlucky rising star on the weather event stage?
There are many factors that come together to make Dixie Alley such a dangerous place during storm season. One of the biggest factors is the fact that this area of the country is consistently warmer throughout the year. While they may have cold snaps and cooler temperatures in the winter months, it is not as cold and the cold spells do not last as long as they do farther north and west in the Plains. There is also a more consistent supply of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico available throughout the year. These two factors make for a longer “storm season” and a greater chance for severe weather outbreaks during the rest of the year as well. In fact, much of Dixie Alley has a second peak of tornado occurrences during the fall months that Tornado Alley does not see as much (though tornadoes have been documented during every month of the year here too). Along with warmer temperatures creating a longer severe weather season, it also equates to warmer nights which means that tornadoes occur during the dark nighttime hours more frequently here than in Tornado Alley. This is very dangerous for people as it makes it harder to spot tornadoes, funnels and other storm formations during the night, and if one does not have a weather radio or other means of getting emergency weather information you may sleep through the warning and not be able to reach a safe place in time.
Dixie Alley is also known to be hilly and/or heavily forested throughout much of it. This makes it very difficult for people who are spotting, chasing or just outside in general to have a good view of the sky to see any potential storm features that would indicate possible severe weather and tornado formation. You must rely on radar to pick up rotational features in the storm, and by that time a tornado may already be on the ground. This area of the country is also home to a much higher concentration of manufactured homes. Theses houses, due to the nature of their construction are much more vulnerable to destruction during high winds and tornadoes like mobile homes are and there are many times that these houses do not have basements or shelters.
Dixie Alley has been noted for having many outbreaks of severe weather and tornadoes, including the Super Outbreak in April 2011 that killed more than 300 people and injured countless others with several violent long-track tornadoes over a span of 3 days. As you can see, if you live in this area of the country it is vital that you have some sort of shelter to take cover in! If you live here and do not have a basement or other shelter, you need to look at investing into a storm shelter from TornadoShelter.com! It could very well save you and your family’s lives!