Breakdown: History of Shelby County tornadoes

History of Shelby County Tornadoes

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tornadoes have occurred in every state in the U.S. and have been observed on every continent except Antarctica.

In the U.S. most tornadoes are found in the Great Plains, located in central section of the U.S. The environment of the Great Plains can be ground zero for frequent severe storms.

This section of the Great Plains is infamously known as tornado alley and what makes the environment so conducive to severe weather, is dry cold air sinks south from Canada and collides with warm moist unstable air that moves north from the Gulf of Mexico.

And while our environment may not be as frequently volatile like that of the Great Plains, we do get our fair share of severe weather which as we know can contain some pretty potent storms and sometimes twisters.

What’s even more interesting is how close we are to tornado alley and yet we don’t see the frequency of strong tornadoes like our neighbors to the west, south and sometimes east.

It’s incredibly ironic to think that we are not far from where a lot of the stronger tornadoes happen. Thankfully our highest scaled tornado is an EF3 which is still dangerous but not at the top when it comes to destruction.

So where can we find the strongest and largest tornado ever recorded? If you guessed Oklahoma, you are correct. The state holds the record for both the largest and the strongest tornadoes on record.

On May 31, 2013 in El Reno, Oklahoma, a tornado touched down that measured 2.6 miles wide at one point during it’s life cycle. In 1999, a mobile Doppler weather radar recorded winds of over 300 mph in an F5 tornado that touched down south of Oklahoma City.

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