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Good Question: Is It Rare For A Tornado To Strike The Same Place Twice?

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
Jennifer joined CBS 11 News in September 2013. For her, the move ...
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The small Arkansas town of Vilonia was hit hard by the tornado on Sunday.  Three years ago this same week, a twister devastated Vilonia, killing four people.

The coincidence brings up a good question: Is it rare for a tornado to hit the same place twice?

Vilonia is one of several cities in Tornado Alley to see tornadoes strike twice.

Moore, Oklahoma experienced a devastating tornado in May 1999, and then again in May 2013.

Tupelo, Mississippi experienced one of the deadliest on record in April 1936, and the town was hit again Monday.

“That’s just the way storms operate,” said CBS 11 Chief Meteorologist Larry Mowry.

Larry says it can be nothing more than an unfortunate chance when a town is repeatedly hit by powerful tornadoes.

“The most frequent tornadoes are obviously in the Plains and the Southeast. That’s what we consider Tornado Alley. If you ask is one location more likely to be hit by a tornado, it’s really tough to prove that to be the case.  There isn’t enough research to confirm if one city is more likely to be hit by a tornado than another,” Mowery said.

Here in North Texas, it’s not a question of if our turn will come, but when and where.

Densely populated areas are just as vulnerable as rural communities. The town of Ennis, which experienced a damaging tornado last spring, is about 35 miles from Dallas.

Moore, Oklahoma, where dozens were killed last may, is just ten miles from Oklahoma City.

“We’ve actually just been fortunate here in Dallas-Fort Worth, where we have yet to see an EF – 5 here in the metroplex. It will happen someday. There’s no question it will, it just hasn’t happened yet,” Mowry said.

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