Map Of The Year

Slate took data from NOAA and plotted every tornado that killed a person in the United States since 1950.  My only complaint about it is they morbidly focus only on tornadoes that killed people.  That, in itself, tells us nothing about tornadoes.  Still, though, you get a good feel for where tornadoes usually hit and where they don’t.

Notice how many of the tornadoes travel northeast.  There’s a reason for that.  Some of the best tornado forming weather occurs when the jet stream buckles and sends a pool of cold air south over the plains.  This allows warm, moist gulf air to build on the eastern side of the jet stream buckle.  Warm air meets cold air and boom!  Quick rising storm clouds form causing dangerous thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes.  Those storms generally travel northeast because that’s where the jet stream is heading.  The answer, my friend, actually is blowing in the wind in this case!