These gorgeous maps have the answer. Created by datavisualization expert John Nelson, these "Tornado Travel Maps" depict the relative proportion of more than 60 years of U.S. tornadoes by their direction of travel. Notice a pattern?
The maps are the latest in Nelson's growing ouvre of gorgeous, natural-disaster-themed cartography. To date, he's produced maps depicting more than a century's worth of global earthquakes, over 150 years of tropical storms and hurricanes, and a slew of major U.S. wildfires. Each map is created from data made publicly available by organizations like NASA, NOAA and the USGS. Every one of them is stunning, combining troves of data with arresting visualizations to great (and incredibly informational) effect. Nelson's latest creation is no exception. What's more, it might one day be used to improve emergency response protocols for some of America's most devastating tornados.