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Why does America have the highest number of tornadoes in the world?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States has roughly 1,200 tornadoes per year, whereas other nations such as New Zealand only see about 20.

As a result of devastating tornadoes in numerous states ranging from Kentucky to Illinois and Arkansas over the weekend, the United States retains its position as the world's top target for tornadoes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Severe Storms Laboratory says about 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S. every year, while other nations, such as New Zealand, record just approximately 20.

Tornadoes can strike at any time of year and at any hour of the day, although they are most common between the hours of 4 and 9 p.m.

According to NOAA’s Tornado FAQ, the U.S. remains top in tornado production with the highest risk areas traditionally being in the Rockies, the Great Plains, Midwest and South. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concedes that tornadoes are poorly understood, claiming that the most devastating tornadoes are caused by supercells, spinning thunderstorms with a well-defined circulation known as a mesocyclone.

Tornado generation is thought to be linked to temperature variations over the margin of downdraft air wrapping around a mesocyclone, according to recent hypotheses and study. That has something to do with how scientists predict tornadoes by looking for wind flow patterns that can provide enough moisture, instability, lift, and wind to produce tornadic thunderstorms.

An analysis by The Washington Post also found that tornadoes tend to form where cold, dry air clashes with warm, humid air, mostly over the mid-latitudes. A large portion of the lower 48 states is directly in the path of this storm. The combination of warm Gulf of Mexico waters, mid-level dry air from the Rockies, and cold air from the northern part of the country creates ideal circumstances for a tornado to form.

Tornado season varies depending on where you are in the country, according to NOAA. In May and early June, the southern Plains states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas see their peak tornado season. Peak tornado season occurs in June or July in the northern Plains states and upper Midwest, such as North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota.

USA Today analyzed the threat tornadoes pose in Southern states and found that the trajectory of tornadoes is changing. 

"Basically, over the last 50 years, if you live in a city like Dallas, your likelihood of a tornado has steadily gone down," Victor Genisini, associate professor of geography and atmospheric science at Northern Illinois University, told USA Today. However, if you live near Birmingham, Alabama, or Memphis, Tennessee, your risk has increased significantly."

However, while states like Texas and Oklahoma continue to rank first in tornado frequency, the trend in other areas is negative.

Tornadoes are dangerous no matter where they hit. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tornadoes may wreak millions, if not billions, of dollars in property damage each year, as well as significant loss of life.

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