The Shifting Tornado Threat for 2019

Blasting cornstalks through vehicles and wooden splinters into iron fire hydrants, tornadoes are ferocious freaks of nature that ruin lives and destroy property while racking up enormous damage costs. As we listen to the news during spring storm season, we assume that most twisters touch down in traditional Tornado Alley: from central Texas extending north through Oklahoma, central Kansas, Nebraska and eastern South Dakota. But the locations these deadly storm clouds strike – and their threats to U.S. regions, communities and people – appear to be shifting. Indeed, if MGM had filmed the Wizard of Oz in 2019, Dorothy’s house might be located in Mississippi instead.

According to NOAA, an average of 3.5 tornadoes occurs per 10,000 square miles in the United States every year. While still young, the current 2019 tornado season is again showing a distinct shift in the areas at greatest risk. Many forecasters have begun speaking of this newer area as “Dixie Alley”: portions of the Midwest and southeastern United States comprising Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky. Mississippi received 15.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles from 2014 to 2018, according to an AccuWeather analysis of states averaging high numbers of tornadoes per year. Alabama was second with 11.8 and Louisiana was third with 11.7. Some meteorologists also note an uptick in tornado activity in the northeast as well.

Some prominent experts caution that these new tornado habits may not represent true increased risk. After all, factors like doppler radar, denser population and cell phone coverage may mean that some tornadoes already occurred without notice and now we have the means to document them. Patrick Matthew, Paul Davis AVP of Quality Assurance & Catastrophe Services, monitors and evaluates all of this information and reports it out to Paul Davis locations across all of these areas.

“Following these trends carefully – including tracking individual storm systems and forecasts – ensures that Paul Davis locations in risk regions are thoroughly prepared to respond,” Matthew says, “Knowledge, awareness and experience help us position the right kinds of equipment, manpower and technology on standby, ready to deploy as soon as we get the call.”

Providing extraordinary care to people in need since 1966, Paul Davis provides 24/7 emergency services, responds to calls for assistance within 30 minutes and pledges to have a team member arrive within four hours. They provide a large range of other services that are essential to protect people and property following sudden and devastating storms like tornadoes:  

  • Storm damage assessment and repair estimates
  • Water damage repair
  • Wind damage repair
  • Emergency board up
  • Tree removal
  • Structural stabilization
  • Comprehensive reconstruction services
  • Insurance claim assistance – partnering with major insurance companies to manage and speed mitigation and restoration.

As every American wrestles with increased risks from severe storms, Paul Davis is proud to serve as the country’s most experienced mitigation and restoration expert wherever the winds blow fiercely.