Weather Talk: Tornadoes are changing with the climate

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Is our warming climate affecting the threat of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms?

From the political sides of this debate, this question is usually quickly and easily answered either “Yes!” or “No!”

In the real world, the answer is a lot trickier. The trend across the United States in recent decades is a slight decrease in the overall number of tornado days along with an overall decrease in the number of tornadoes annually.

However, coupled with this general decrease is an increase in those few terrible tornado outbreak days — those days when dozens or even hundreds of tornadoes causing staggering property damage and loss of life across one region.

Also, there seems to be a slightly more pronounced decrease in tornadoes across the southern plains, the so-called tornado alley; coupled with a noticeable increase in the Deep South and mid-south regions, now labeled the "Dixie Alley."

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