What We Learned About Tornadoes In The MidSouth

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(Memphis) Mid-southerners know a thing or two about tornadoes.

But we've learned some tornado secrets you may not know.

For example, are we seeing them more often?

And are some parts of the mid south more vulnerable to these monster storms than other areas?

News Channel 3's Chief Meteorologist Tim Simpson has the answers.

"And we're getting live tornado footage. again, this is the second of the day. That's it...that we're seeing here."

In February 2008 News Channel Three brought you live pictures of a tornado making  its way into Shelby County.

In a matter of moments, three people were killed at this warehouse in Hickory Hill.

The Super Tuesday tornado outbreak cut a trail of destruction throughout the region.

The National Weather Service is now giving our area a new designation, "Dixie Alley"

Jim Belles, with the National Weather Service office in Memphis, said the reasons are simple, "We have one of the highest frequencies of tornado events that kill people, than any other place in the country."

Why is "Dixie Alley" so dangerous?

Unlike tornadoes in the "plains" states that travel for miles though mostly unoccupied spaces,  tornadoes hitting our area often strike in late afternoon or dark of night and may be "wrapped" in thunderstorms or hidden by trees or hillsides.

We wanted to know how many tornados have hit Shelby County in the last 100 years.

In a National Weather Service tornado database we searched from 1912.

In Shelby County, 72 tornadoes recorded with 18 deaths and nearly 350 injured.

The database shows tornado "tracks"  moving from southwest toward the northeast, popping up all across the MidSouth.

This proves twisters can strike anywhere, at any time.

Jim Belles says the  entire mid south is definitely in the bull's eye" of the new "Dixie Alley,"  "I think in this part of the country you have to be weather savvy. in some cases it could be a matter of life or death."

The National Weather Service says you should always be prepared for severe weather and have a safety plan ready to put into action. .