By Ed Curran

CHICAGO (CBS)–Dramatic tornadoes are on the rise in Illinois.

Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Dr. Victor Gensini says the frequency of tornadoes is increasing in Illinois.

Gensini, said there has been a downward trend in tornado activity in the “colloquial tornado alley.”

According to the professor, there have been an increase in tornadoes in places like Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi.

“It is putting a lot more people at risk,” Gensini said. “You have much bigger population centers as you get east of the Mississippi River.”

While the cause is unclear, climate change may provide an explanation.

“The southern Great Plains of the United States begins to dry out, there’s more drought and a lot of these weather extremes and the frequency of these extremes shifts further to the east,” Gensini said.

The Great Plains still lead when it comes to tornado numbers, but the trend moving east is a concern.