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Though Tornado Alley is considered to be in areas of the Central United States, no official definition of the term has ever been designated by the National Weather Service. According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory FAQ, "Tornado Alley" is a term created by the media as a reference to areas that have higher numbers of tornadoes. Over the years, the boundaries of Tornado Alley have not been clearly defined, but the differences are the result of the different criteria used to define the region. 90% of tornadoes hit this region of the U.S because cold, dry air from Canada and the Rocky Mountains meets warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and hot, dry air from the Sonoran Desert, which causes atmospheric instability, heavy precipitation, and many intense thunderstorms.
The most common definition of Tornado Alley is the location where the strongest tornadoes occur more frequently. The core of Tornado Alley consists of northern Texas (including the Panhandle), Oklahoma and Kansas. However, Tornado Alley can be also be defined as an area reaching from central Texas to the Canadian prairies and from eastern Colorado to western Pennsylvania. It can also be disputed that there are numerous Tornado Alleys. In addition to the Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas core, such areas also include the Upper Midwest, the Ohio Valley, the Tennessee Valley and the lower Mississippi valley.