Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Geography and Geosciences

Degree Program

Geography (Applied), MS

Committee Chair

Zhang, Charlie

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Naylor, Jason

Committee Member

Naylor, Jason

Committee Member

Du-Caines, Jian

Author's Keywords

Tornado; dixie; tornado alley; risk; vulnerability


Throughout the years tornados were a feared and respected phenomenon. This phenomenon was traditionally associated with the high plains of the United States for very good reason. More tornados occur in the American high plains than anywhere else in the world, hence the term: Tornado Alley. However, the American Deep South was and remains prone to many tornados too. So much so that parts of the Deep South were and still are referred to as Dixie Alley. The major focus of this study was how the two areas compared as far as risk is concerned.

This study used both geographic and statistical methods to compare the risk of tornado disasters in Dixie Alley to that of Tornado Alley. Several factors to include population density, forest cover, and poverty rate were analyzed. In addition, the overall tornado density was analyzed. This allowed for a final comparison of the statistical difference between the two regions which tested the theory that Dixie Alley has comparable risk levels to Tornado Alley.