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Atlanta makes list of top 10 tornado cities

7:13 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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One of the pillars of Centennial Olympic Park is seen destroyed by a tornado March 15, 2008 in downtown Atlanta. (Gavin Averill/Getty Images)

ATLANTA - Atlanta is among the top ten cities across the nation where homes are most likely to be hit by a tornado, according to a new list from The Weather Channel.

"The difference between this year's list and the ones in the past is the past ones were just counting the sheer number of tornadoes. That didn't take into consideration the track length or path width. Thus it didn't count how big of an area was being affected by the tornadoes," said The Weather Channel's severe weather expert Dr. Greg Forbes.

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Forbes gathered data from the National Weather Service from between 1962 and 2011, and noted the areas within 75 miles of the highlighted cities, and included data on length and width of the storms' damage paths. Based on that data, Forbes says homes in the Plains and the South are most likely to be hit by a tornado.

The list leans more heavily toward areas in the South -- Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia -- being hit more often than areas more traditionally thought of as tornado hotbeds, however.

In recent years, Atlanta and Nashville both have had tornadoes hit their downtown areas, which flies in the face of the common thought that tornadoes tend to avoid urban areas.

In 1998, a tornado hit downtown Nashville, damaging the Tennessee State Capitol and LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans. In 2008, a tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta, damaging Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center and the Georgia Dome, where an SEC basketball tournament game was being played at the time.

The top 10 cities for tornadoes include:

10 - Nashville
9 - Wichita
8 - Atlanta
7 - Oklahoma City
6 - Tulsa
5 - Little Rock
4 - Tuscaloosa
3 - Birmingham
2 - Jackson
1 - Huntsville

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