Whether you're in Kansas anymore or not, these are all sure signs that a tornado is in the offing. Tornadoes are not only destructive — along with hail, high winds and heavy rain — they're often deadly results of severe supercell thunderstorms that can pop up anywhere with very little warning. So whether you live in a region like Dorothy's that's prone to twisters or not, knowing the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning can potentially save your life and the lives of the people and pets you love.
In the U.S., there are three regions that experience a higher number of tornadoes than the rest of the country. Florida is one; "Tornado Alley" and "Dixie Alley" are the others. While there are no hard and fast borders to these areas, Tornado Alley is generally the region from central Texas northward to northern Iowa, and from central Kansas and Nebraska east to western Ohio. Tornadoes in this area usually happen in late spring and occasionally the early fall. In the Gulf Coast, a separate tornado corridor nicknamed "Dixie Alley" stretches from eastern Texas and Arkansas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and into the Carolinas and Missouri, with a high frequency of tornadoes occurring in the late fall (October through December).
Climate Scientists project that 2021 will see more twisters than normal, partly because of a continuing La Niña climate pattern that is expected to remain in place and influence weather patterns across the globe.
With a clear understanding of watches and warnings you'll be better prepared to navigate tornado season's various forecasts and notifications and make sure you have a safety plan in place. Here's the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning, according to the National Weather Service.