Seems like the classical "tornado alley" was always a bit of a misconception, to me:
The most important thing that I've realized within the last few years is related to what you allude to (in "kinda related"). The "condensation funnel", which is what we use to visually identify a tornado, is a bit arbitrary when it comes to damaging/dangerous wind speeds. The humidity, dew point, pressure differential, and even the line-of-sight integration (literally an integral through transparent vs. opaque air) all play somewhat of a part when it comes to identifying a "funnel". Actually, I think the most important element may be a characteristic length/time-scale of turbulence that enables the formation of visible condensation/cloud-like funnels near the ground. This vid (55 seconds in) kinda illustrates my point. It is the boundary between laminar flow and still air where opaque condensation forms. Unless that's all dust. But I don't think it is. I think we've talked about this before, briefly, but it still rattles around in my mushy brain sometimes.