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Tornado hotspots in North America

Scott Meiklejohn, staff writer
April 11, 2012 — We've all heard of 'Tornado Alley' in the United States -- but that's not the only tornado hotspot in North America.

The current 'Tornado Alley'
The current 'Tornado Alley'

According to a report by CoreLogic, a California-based research and consulting firm, tornadoes are striking in more parts of the US, more often.

The traditional boundaries of Tornado Alley centre on the Plains states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota -- but those parameters have become dated.

"Tornado Alley borders were established decades ago," says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "In the 1960s and 1970s many of the places where tornadoes touched down were rural. Now, thanks to urban sprawl, we're seeing more and more tornadoes in residential spaces."

Researchers are considering expanding Tornado Alley's borders to include much of the Midwest and the Deep South.

The revised Tornado Alley would include Florida, a state that is no stranger to tropical storms, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Canada sees an average of 100 tornadoes each year
Canada sees an average of 100 tornadoes each year


Some Canadians may not be aware that our country gets more tornadoes than any other (averaging 100 per year) with the exception of the United States (averaging 1000 per year).

Tornado Alley, the path most frequented by tornadoes in North America, actually reaches as far as southern Ontario. This southern most spot in Canada has the highest risk of tornadoes in the country. The southern part of the Prairies, including south central Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, receives the second largest amount.

A third of all tornadoes in Canada occur in that extreme southern part of Ontario. This section of the province is most likely to receive high intensity tornadoes. Of the nine F4 strength tornadoes in Canada, seven were in southern Ontario and two were in western Canada. These last two tornadoes were the worst Canada has ever known.

There has been only one F5 Tornado recorded in Canada. That twister touched down in Elie, Manitoba on June 22, 2007.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the storm though several houses were leveled.

Compared to the United States, Canadian tornadoes have historically caused far fewer fatalities. This is because of Canada’s lower population density and generally stronger housing construction due to the colder climate.

Here are the worst tornadoes in Canadian history:

1. Regina, Saskatchewan, June 30, 1912: 28 dead, hundreds injured

2. Edmonton, Alberta, July 31, 1987: 27 dead, 300 injured 

3. Windsor, Ontario, June 17, 1946: 17 dead, hundreds injured

4. Pine Lake, Alberta, July 14, 2000: 12 dead, 140 injured 

5. Valleyfield, Quebec, August 16, 1888: 9 dead, 14 injured 

6. Windsor, Ontario, April 3, 1974: 9 dead, 30 injured 

7. Barrie, Ontario, May 31, 1985: 8 dead, 155 injured 

8. Sudbury, Ontario, August 20, 1970: 6 dead, 200 injured 

9. St-Rose, Quebec, June 14, 1892: 6 dead, 26 injured 

10. Buctouche, New Brunswick, August 6, 1879: 5 dead, 10 injured 

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