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‘Tornado Alley’ could be in for a rougher season than usual.
And Monday’s news offered a little bit of proof.
First responders in Lee County, Alabama told reporters that a deadly tornado claimed at least 23 lives, and injured dozens more individuals.
It was the deadliest tornado-related total since May 20, 2013, when 24 people were killed by a twister in Oklahoma, the Storm Prediction Center reported.
Last year, only 10 people were killed by tornadoes in the U.S.
The National Weather Service office in Birmingham told news outlets that the first tornado that landed in Lee County was “at least” an EF-3. That tornado is marked as “severe,” with winds 158 to 206 mph.
Could Texas be next?
The answer is complicated.
The northern region of Texas represents the bottom of “Tornado Alley.”
The other areas represented, according to Accuweather.com (a weather news service) are “much of northern Texas northward through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and parts of Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and eastern Colorado.”
Last week, the AccuWeather released a report that predicts Tornado Alley will see more tornadoes than it has the past three years.
“We believe warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures over the Gulf of Mexico will lead to increased moisture transport from the Gulf over the region and ultimately a higher frequency of severe weather in these areas,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
The report also predicted that “there will be 1,075 tornadoes in 2019, which is nine percent more than the 987 tornadoes in 2018.”
However, some experts have been critical of these projections.
One report from The Washington Post cites a number of weather experts and professors who want AccuWeather to “show their work” its 2019 predictions.
The National Weather Service reported 52 tornadoes hit the entire state of Texas in 2018. That figure was the fifth-highest mark of any state in the U.S.
Five tornadoes took place near the very bottom of the Texas-Louisiana border.
*The data also shows that six tornadoes took place near the greater Houston Area.*
While Houston doesn’t technically reside in Tornado Alley, the latest incidents in Alabama, as well as the projections from AccuWeather, might be an indicator of what’s to come.
Peter Dawson is a digital reporter in Houston. Read him on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | Peter.Dawson@chron.com | NEWS WHEN YOU NEED IT: Text CHRON to 77453 to receive breaking news alerts by text message | Sign up for breaking news alerts delivered to your email here.