Tornado Alley is a region in the central United States known for its high frequency of tornadoes. There is no official area designated but it primarily encompasses parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

However, some definitions are expanding the area to include portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and even parts of the Dakotas.

The unique geography—where warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico collides with cool, dry air from Canada—creates the perfect conditions for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, especially in spring and early summer.

South Dakota map
Roof Gnome, Getty/Thinkstock Images and Canva

While tornadoes can occur anywhere in the U.S., Tornado Alley experiences the most violent and frequent twisters, making it a focal point for storm chasers and meteorological research.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA), South Dakota has had a total of 1911 tornadoes from 1950 through 2023. The average number of tornadoes South Dakota has in a year is 36.

Roof Gnome (a national roofing repair company) used FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) statistics to rank almost 950 counties in the U.S. in terms of tornado vulnerability.

They specifically looked at tornado risk and expected annual loss from tornadoes. The average age of homes in the counties examined played a huge role in the rank they received.

Getty/Thinkstock Images and Canva

Minnehaha County showed up in 51st place in this particular study. The average age of homes in this area was determined to be 43.2 years old. The study indicates that many homes may not be updated to a certain construction standard. Therefore damage totals could be high.

These statistics put Minnehaha County in the vulnerable category with a a total projected annual loss from tornadoes of around $32 million for this year.

READ MORE: 10 Plants That Actually Repel Mosquitoes!

You can see this complete and interesting study at Roof Gnome along with an interactive map with the most vulnerable counties in Minnesota and Iowa, too.

35 Movies That Take Place in South Dakota

When it comes to South Dakota and Hollywood, we've seen our fair share of films that have used our state as the backdrop for a number of productions over the years. They may not have always filmed here, but movie folk love to set stories here.

We're all familiar with the blockbusters like 1990's Dances With Wolves, 1959's North By Northwest, and more recently, 2007's National Treasure: Book of Secrets. But our state's life on the big screen goes back nearly 100 years.

According to IMDb, it all started with Courtin' Wildcats, a 1929 film which, like so many of the 29 films on this list, is a Western set in the time before South Dakota became a state in 1889.

Gallery Credit: Jeff Harkness/

Seven Mind-Blowing Wonders' of South Dakota

I think most of us have at least heard of the "Seven Wonders of the Modern World." We might not be able to rattle them off as easily as McDonald's value menu items, but chances are you've heard of at least some of them, right?

There's the Great Wall of ChinaChichén Itzá, a Mayan City on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The ancient city of Petra, in Jordan. Machu Picchu in Peru. Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro. The Colosseum in Rome, and finally, the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

Every state in the nation is known for having a series of natural wonders and signature landmarks. So, I thought I would come up with my own list of the "Seven Wonders of South Dakota."

The following is what I consider to be the signature landmarks, monuments, and natural wonders that are synonymous with the great state of South Dakota. I tried to give both sides of the state a little love while comprising this list.

You might have a few additions...
Let's get started. The Seven Wonders of South Dakota:

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