Tornado Alley, which covers much of north Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa, has not seen a single twister this year for the first time in recorded history. Spring typically sees the most frequent and devastating tornados in the area, but so far this year there has been nothing.
The twisters are formed by the mingling of cold, arctic air from Canada with warmer air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. This year, however, the cold from the north has covered far more of America than normal, with the warm air from the Gulf only really getting to the south-eastern states.
In addition to the lack of tornados, the Alley is far colder and drier than usual. This is because the wet air from the south isn’t arriving, and the northern winds are losing their moisture on the mountains. In Oklahoma almost every day this month has been well below the average, temperature wise. For example, April 6 hit a maximum of 46, set against a long-running April average of 70 degrees. Hot, wet air isn’t arriving, so the conditions for a twister are not being met.
The latest recorded tornado in Oklahoma was on April 26, 1962 – so this year is already a record. The cause, as usual, is being attributed to global warming disrupting weather patterns. Melting ice caps are spreading cold water down the west coast, so winds from the west are far colder (and stronger) than usual. Combined with the always cold north wind, Tornado Alley is being kept cold, dry and quiet.