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Top 10 list of cities overdue for a major tornado strike

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The popular storm survival website has released their annual "Top 10 US cities overdue for a major tornado strike."

Leo Fabi, spokesperson for says the list has become a much anticipated posting since it was first introduced in 2008. Fabi says the list is more than just a reminder that "spring tornado season is right around the corner." The list is great for public awareness. It is not a function of scientific probabilities suggesting any specific location will be hit, but history has shown that residents of cities without a major event often become complacent.

Here is the list for 2014

Top 10 US cities overdue for a major tornado strike.

The biggest factor in determining the 2014 at risk locations is the continuing drought in western regions of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado.

In evaluating tornado occurrence data over the last three years, the most active areas of Tornado Alley have moved away from the traditional (and less populated) western regions and shifted east by several hundred miles.

The eastward shift is allowing violent thunderstorms to form and mature over eastern portions of Tornado Alley including areas with higher population densities. Recent examples include violent tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma, El Reno Oklahoma.

This list is intended for public awareness and historical insight. It is not a function of scientific probabilities suggesting any specific location will be hit within any given time frame.

Risk months are listed in order of greatest risk.

1: Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington Metro Area (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington, Plano, Irving, Frisco, McKinney, Carrollton, Denton, Richardson, etc.)

Population: Urban 4,145,659 - Metro 6,426,214
Area: Urban 6,359 sq mi - Metro 9,286 sq mi
Greatest risk months: April, May, March, February, June

Last major tornado: April 25, 1994. Lancaster. Rated F4 with 3 fatalities and 48 injuries.

The Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington Metro Area is no doubt the luckiest metropolitan area in the United States when it comes to tornadoes. Since 1950, only two major tornadoes have struck the area, killing a total of 13 and injuring 248. (April 2, 1957 and April 25, 1994).

The shear size and population density of the Ft. Worth / Dallas area (634 people per square mile) makes the Metro area the largest tornado target in the world. Several very close calls over the last ten years raise the risk factor.


2: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Population: City 393,987 - Metro 951,880
Area: City 196.8 sq. mi
Greatest risk months: May, April, June

Last major tornado: April 24, 1993. East Tulsa and Catoosa. Rated F4 with 7 fatalities and 100 injuries.

Tulsa, OK is roughly 113 miles to the northwest of Joplin, MO, a town that suffered an EF5 tornado in May of 2012. If a similar tornado strikes Tulsa, the damage would be catastrophic.


3: Little Rock, Arkansas

Population: City 196.537 - Metro 717,666
Area: City 116.8 sq mi - Metro 4,090.34 sq miles
Greatest risk months: April, March, February, January

Last major tornado: January 21, 1999. Little Rock. Rated F3 with 3 fatalities and 45 injuries.


4: Jacksonville, Mississippi

Population: City 175,437 - Metro 576,800
Area: 106.8 sq mi
Greatest risk months: April, March, February, January

Last major tornado: March 3, 1966. The “Candlestick Park” tornado. Rated F5 with 58 fatalities and 518 injuries.


5: Memphis, Tennessee

Metro Population: City 670,132 - Metro 1,316,100
Area: City 324.0 sq mi
Greatest risk months: April, March, November, December

Last major tornado: December 14, 1987. Between West Memphis and the metro area. Rated F3 with 6 fatalities and 121 injured.

Twenty one percent of the annual tornado reports occur during the late autumn and early winter months, with 16.9% occurring in November and December. (NOAA).


6: Kansas City, Missouri

Population: City 464,310 - Metro 2,038,724
Area: City 319.03 sq mi - Metro 7,952 sq mi
Greatest risk months: May, June, April, July

Last major deadly tornado: May 20, 1957. Ruskin Heights. Rated F5 with 39 fatalities and 531 injured.


7: St. Louis, Missouri

Population: City 318,172 - Metro Area 2,795,794
Area: City 66.2 sq mi - Metro Area: 8,458 sq mi
Greatest risk months: May, June, April, July

Last major tornado: St. Louis / Ellisville, February 10, 1959. Rated F4 with 21 fatalities, 345 injuries.

Notes: St. Louis holds the dubious distinction of having the most deadly tornado strike in a major metropolitan area. On May 27, 1896 a powerful tornado tore through the city killing 255.


8: Wichita, Kansas

Population: City 382,368 - Metro 636,105
Area: 163.59 sq mi
Greatest risk months: May, June, April,

Last major tornado: April 26, 1991. Wichita metro area. Rated F5 with 17 fatalities and 225 injuries.


9: Omaha, Nebraska

Population: City 408,958 - Metro 877,110
Area: 130.58 sq mi
Greatest risk months: May, June, July

Last major tornado: May 6, 1975. Omaha. Rated F4 with 3 fatalities and 133 injured.


10: Amarillo, Texas

Population: City 190,695 - Metro 249,881
Area: 90.3 sq mi
Last major deadly tornado: May 7, 1995. Canyon. Rated F2 with 1 fatality and 12 injuries. The metro area has yet to be hit by a major tornado.

Greatest risk month: May, June, April, March, July

Despite current drought conditions, Amarillo, like other cities on the western fringe of Tornado Alley, have a slightly enhanced risk of a tornado strike because they are in a region that is active for longer periods. In 2013 a nighttime tornadic storm moved over the center of the city but fortunately no tornado touched down.


Other risk cities to watch:

Dodge City. KS
Wichita Falls, TX
Grand Island, NE
Springfield, MO
Lincoln, NE
Des Moines, IA



End of list.

Warren Faidley America's Storm Survival Expert Extreme Weather Journalist and Photographer
EMT (Tactical)
Member National Emergency Managers Association
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