Shop Windows to the Universe

The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This map shows where most tornadoes form in the United States. The red area is known as "Tornado Alley". Most of the tornadoes in the southern U.S. near the Gulf of Mexico are formed by hurricanes
Click on image for full size

What is "Tornado Alley"?

The land in the central United States is the best breeding ground for the storms which produce tornadoes. The land in the Great Plains is relatively flat, which allows cold dry polar air from Canada to meet warm moist tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. It's along the front between the two airmasses that most tornadoes form.

Most tornadoes in the United States form in an area called "Tornado Alley". This area includes parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Storm chasers travel to this area because of the high concentration of tornadoes. These tornadoes are formed by thunderstorms. Some of the tornadoes in the southern states such as Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia are caused by hurricanes.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

How a Tornado Forms

A tornado begins in a severe thunderstorm called a supercell. A supercell can last longer than a regular thunderstorm. The same property that keeps the storm going also produces most tornadoes. The wind...more

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are one of the most thrilling and dangerous types of weather phenomena. Over 40,000 thunderstorms occur throughout the world each day. Thunderstorms form when very warm, moist air rises into...more

Hurricanes (also known as Tropical Cyclones)

As a strong hurricane heads towards the coast, people prepare - boarding up houses, packing the car, and evacuating. These storms can spell disaster for people in hurricane prone areas, so they are taken...more

Things You Probably Don't Know About Lightning

Everyone knows that lightning is very dangerous. But how much do you really know about lightning? Do you know how it really works? How many people are killed or injured each year? Where do most lightning...more

What is "Tornado Alley"?

The land in the central United States is the best breeding ground for the storms which produce tornadoes. The land in the Great Plains is relatively flat, which allows cold dry polar air from Canada to...more

How Radar Works

Radar is short for "radio detection and ranging". A transmitter sends pulses of high frequency radio waves. A radar echo shows up on a monitor and shows where the object is located.. A computer measures...more

Stability

Have you ever tried to balance a long stick on your hand? Hard, isn't it? That's because the stick is part of an unstable system. If the wind pushes the stick a little bit, it will keep going in that direction....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA