According to FEMA, Birmingham, AL, is right in a hot spot for tornado activity. According to their designation, Birmingham experiences more than 15 tornadoes per 2,470 square miles around the area. Furthermore, their statistics reveal that tornadoes in the area are often in excess of 250 miles per hour, making them both frequent and alarmingly devastating.
Earlier this year, severe weather warnings were issued for severe tornado damage throughout Southeast Alabama. At least 23 people died, including children, after a tornado touched down near Beauregard, AL. By the following Monday, the National Weather Service evaluated six more severe tornadoes throughout four Alabama counties.
Tornado Alley, a thin strip of land down the center of the United States’ Midwest, includes South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Some would also include North Dakota, Missouri, and Iowa. In any case, Tornado Alley is known for its high concentration of severe tornadoes year-round, but especially during the summertime when tornado season is at its peak.
Alabama, you’ll note, is not within Tornado Alley. Instead, it can be found in what is known as Dixie Alley, the Southeastern version of Tornado Alley. Here, the risk of tornadoes is growing at an alarming rate.
In fact, according to the aforementioned FEMA report, most Southern states experience relatively weak to moderate tornadoes ranging from EF0 to EF3 at max. For reference, an EF3 tornado has a wind speed of around 136 to 165 miles per hour. It’s relatively minor. But, the tornadoes found in both Alabama and Mississippi tend to be some of the most severe of the southern states. Do not underestimate the power of a tornado in the Birmingham area.