Tornado Alley has been a real misnomer the past few years.
It makes me wonder if my fellow Oklahoman and Texan friends feel like my wife and I do when we see massive destruction from storms in other parts of the country: We're sad that the things have been hitting in such populated areas, as well as relieved that they skipped us this time, and that time, and the other time.
Population has to be the biggest difference: Tornadoes descend in droves across western Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle and chances are all they'll scare is a bunch of cows and all they'll hit is some oil tank batteries.
That's no knock, Piedmont, Sweetwater, Bridge Creek, Moore — Oklahoma City. It's just the way it is: Not that many people live in western Oklahoma. Same goes for the Golden Spread of the Texas Panhandle, outside Amarillo and a handful of small towns.
This part of the Southwest, our corner of the Great Plains, is more rural than Midwesterners' and Southerners' rural.
The tornado outbreaks and hailstorms of biblical proportions have more than storm chasers and TV news crews scrambling. Insurance companies and state insurance officials are hurrying to redefine “high-risk areas” beyond the Great Plains.
So says Santa Ana, Calif.-based CoreLogic, a provider of business-financial-property data and analysis, in “Tornado and Hail Risk Beyond Tornado Alley: An Analysis of Weather Patterns Featuring CoreLogic Wind Probability and Hail Probability.”
The “Super Outbreak” of April 25-28, 2011, the largest and most expensive outbreak ever recorded, got the nation's attention. It hit Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia and affected other areas from Texas to New York, CoreLogic pointed out.