I hear the term “tornado alley” being used frequently. What area is being referred to? Does the Chicago area have a tornado alley?
“Tornado alley” is an often used but inconsistently applied term and, as the American Meteorological Society notes, “Since (tornado) statistics are variable on all-time scales, the term has little scientific value.”
This is especially true when the body of tornado data is restricted to a relatively small geographical area such as metropolitan Chicago. Conclusions drawn from such a limited database are meaningless.
Broadly speaking, U.S. tornadoes occur most frequently in the area from north-central Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska into central South Dakota. This area is loosely defined as tornado alley.