I Bet You Didn’t Think Tornadoes Were Possible in These 5 Cities!

Tornado Over City
  • Although tornadoes in the United States mostly occur in Tornado Alley, there are quite a few cities that experience the occasional twister.
  • Rochester, Minnesota, home of the famous Mayo Clinic, consists of flat farm land that can be prone to tornadoes.
  • Ted Fujita developed the official tornado severity scale based on his observation and study of tornadoes in Fargo, North Dakota.
  • Although its location is the furthest from Tornado Alley, Orlando, Florida has seen its fair share of tornadoes along the panhandle.
  • Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana are two other northeastern U.S. cities that have also experienced tornadoes.

The United States experiences the most tornadoes out of any other country. In fact, it also contains the most violent and devasting tornadoes which typically occur in what is called Tornado Alley.

According to Accuweather, Tornado Alley “is an area of the U.S. where there is a high potential for tornado development. This area encompasses much of northern Texas northward through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and parts of Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado.”

However, it may surprise you that many tornadoes form in other cities outside of Tornado Alley. Continue reading to learn about 5 cities that you may not have suspected a tornado to touch down.

Rochester, Minnesota

Although Rochester sits close to the edge of Tornado Alley, it’s still just north of the boundary. It is the largest city in the state of Minnesota that is the most prone to tornadoes since much of it consists of flat land for farming.

Rochester is home to the famous Mayo Clinic which was formed in the late 1880s after the city experienced a stretch of bad weather. The Mayo family founded the hospital to assist those that were injured during the storms.

Fargo, North Dakota

Located in southeast North Dakota along the Minnesota border, Fargo has had its fair share of tornadoes in the past. In fact, the city bounced back rather quickly after a slew of tornadoes hit the small city in 1957.

The Fujita scale, which measures the severity of tornadoes based on a number scale of 0 to 6, was developed by Ted Fujita who studied the activity of tornadoes in Fargo, North Dakota. His research helped him create the tornado categories used today.

Orlando, Florida

On the complete opposite side of the country and east of Tornado Alley, lies Orlando, Florida. Although this southern-most state is well-known for its hurricanes, its tornado activity should not be ignored.

Orlando is more than likely the only place in which a tornado would form even though it wouldn’t be very severe. Maybe the next time you enjoy one of the areas many famous theme parks, you’ll be able to create your own storm-chasing amusement ride.

Columbus, Ohio

This northeast city along the Scioto River experienced an E1 tornado less than a year ago in September. The tornado left behind great devastation on the east side of the city although it never once touched down.

A city that had tremendous growth between 2010 and 2017 hopes that its economy is the only thing that’s booming if another tornado comes roaring through this fall. The aftermath of a tornado can decimate the economic growth of an entire city.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Located in the center of the state, Indianapolis, Indiana is one of the few cities in the east that actually receives the most tornado activity. Its weather and topography present very favorable conditions for severe storms.

The most recent tornado to touch down in Indianapolis was in 2012, although it wasn’t very powerful. Of the 45 tornadoes reported by the NWS between 1952 and 2017, most of them have been fairly weak.

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Written by Bryan Brammer