Recent data show the number of tornadoes in Oklahoma for the past five years is significantly down from the average, as are the number of violent tornadoes " something Oklahoma is more known for than any other state.
Has "tornado alley" moved out of Oklahoma?
"People have certainly noticed," said Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman. "I get that question a lot when I'm out. Are we done?"
According to the National Climatic Data Center, between 1997 and 2006, Oklahoma recorded 673 tornadoes, ranking fifth among all states, behind:
" Illinois and
But over the last five years " while Texas, Kansas and Illinois retain their top three spots " Oklahoma slides all the way down to 12th.
May of 2005 was the first time in the 50-plus years of official record keeping not a single tornado landed in Oklahoma for that month. And the period between mid-May of 2003 and the beginning of March 2004 was the longest stretch in state history to go without a tornado: a total of 292 days.
"Conditions have not been as favorable as in past years," said Smith. "We've had some pretty strong systems come through, but even in tornado alley, it's a delicate balance. If one thing is just a little bit off, you may not get tornadoes." "Scott Cooper