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Tornado Alley is a colloquial term for the area of the United States (or by some definitions extending into Canada) where tornadoes are most frequent. The term was first used in 1952 as the title of a research project to study severe weather in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota, and Minnesota only. It is largely a media-driven term although tornado climatologists distinguish peaks in activity in various areas and storm chasers have long recognized the Great Plains tornado belt.