The area in the US known as tornado alley runs through the great plains in areas including Oklahoma and Kansas. The area is known for both the frequency and severity of its tornadoes. This is largely due to heat and moisture traveling up from the Gulf of Mexico to the great plains where it mixes with colder air traveling down from Canada. These conditions are ripe for thunderstorms, and there must be a thunderstorm to create a tornado. Though the Pacific Ocean also supplies moisture in the west, mountains prevent the moisture from penetrating central areas. It is also less likely for high speed winds to run through mountainous areas, but in the plains there is no significant barricade.
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