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Charlie Pierce
Dr. Rhea Presiado
GEOG 001 #30654
February 8, 2016
Hazard Atmosphere Map Set

Total Distribution of Tornados near Norman,


Oklahoma from 1900-2015

The city of Norman sits almost directly in the center of Oklahoma. Like most
of Oklahoma, Norman is surrounded by open flat planes and prairies that are
an ideal topography for hazardous tornadoes to touch down. The map shows
a pattern of tornado clusters that have landed in low-lying areas, often
following the path of a nearby river. Oklahomans are not strangers to the
possibility of a tornado developing from severe thunderstorms that produce
an average of 53 tornadoes per year in the state. (Climate of Oklahoma) Hail

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storms and wind debris present the most dangerous hazards in addition to
the cyclone itself.

Total Distribution of Tornadoes Throughout the


Central United States from 1900-2015

The central region of the United States is home to a dangerous stretch of the
country known as Tornado Alley. In the map above there is a pattern of
tornadoes stretching from the Texas panhandle up through Oklahoma and
Kansas all the way to Nebraska. We can see this pattern has likely developed
due to a tornado using the vast amount of flat land to touch down along this
path. In the eastern portion of this map we can see a large convergence of
tornadoes coming up from the Gulf of Mexico, ripping through Mississippi and
on into Alabama. April 27-28, 2011 was a terrible day for this region as an
astounding 211 tornadoes broke out over this time period. The National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration knew over 12 hours in advance that

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a perfect storm of conditions were forming in the area, placing all residents
on high alert. (Ritter) The large outbreak can be attributed to highly unstable
conditions that are created when warm weather from the Gulf of Mexico
interacts with strong cold fronts from the north.

Total Distribution of Tornadoes Throughout North


America from 1900-2015
N

More tornadoes occur in North America than anywhere else on earth with a
yearly average of 1200 tornadoes per year. (National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration) Many of these landfalls are made in America
because of the favorable conditions for hazardous weather created by the
mixing of cold air and warm air. The Rocky Mountains to the West and the
Appalachian Mountains to the east act as a perfect venue to for the
showdown of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico meeting a strong cold front
slipping down from the jet stream in Canada. These areas between the

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continents two major mountain ranges create the ideal conditions that bring
about so many tornadoes each year. The Rocky Mountain stretching so far
north pushes warm, dry air back to the central plains area, which adds
another favorable ingredient to the already unstable atmospheric conditions.
Works Cited

"Climate of Oklahoma." Oklahoma Climatological Survey. State of Oklahoma.


Web. 08 Feb. 2016.
<http://climate.ok.gov/index.php/site/page/climate_of_oklahoma>.

Ritter, Michael E. The Physical Environment: an Introduction to Physical


Geography.
Web. 08 Feb. 2016.
<http://www.earthonlinemedia.com/ebooks/tpe_3e/title_page.html>.

"Tornadoes 101." NOAA. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Web. 08 Feb. 2016.
<http://www.noaa.gov/features/protecting/tornados101.html>.