It’s hard to believe the destruction in Oklahoma after a monster tornado struck the southern Oklahoma City suburbs… including the city of Moore. Here is a look at the tornado’s path and preliminary info:
If the storm ends up being an EF 4 on the scale, the maximum winds would be up to 200 mph… but to tell you the truth, this one could have been even stronger. Less than .1% of all tornadoes end up being EF5 (max winds 235mph)… so that is quite rare. But outbreak itself is not unheard of… as areas become more and more populated it goes without saying–more people are at risk. And afterall, it is tornado season in Oklahoma… which is smack dab in the middle of “tornado alley”. One interesting graphic I came across is the tornado climatology for May 20th:
Scary accurate where that bullseye is. The National Weather Service has teams out in that community today to survey the damage, and will have more information as the day goes on. And is there ever damage. It is heartbreaking to see the images today… Oklahoma Tornado Gallery.
I’ve heard reports of this tornado being anywhere from a half of a mile… up to two miles wide at one point. (again, NWS will confirm this today). At one point the NWS in Norman Tweeted this powerful warning:
@NWSNorman 322pm – the tornado is so large you may not realize it’s a tornado. If you are in Moore, go to shelter NOW!
The tornado’s track is eerily close to the one that hit on May 3rd, 1999… although it went a bit farther south. Here is the track-comparison:
Our residents in Xenia may be able to relate. The stories of loss… and of survival will continue to pour in over the next few days. You can stay up-to-date at www.wdtn.com
The good news is that there was warning. The NWS issued a tornado warning for the area 16 minutes before the tornado developed, and the community of Moore had about a half-hour lead time before it reached them. The loss of life may be attributed to a number of things… the lack of immediate action (take EVERY warning seriously, and when you hear a warning… act NOW), or even just the shear strength of the storm. We will learn more in the coming days. But what is very interesting… is the list of the top 25-deadliest tornadoes on record: DEADLIEST TORNADOES Only one of them–Joplin–is in the NWS Doppler radar era. Amazing life-saving advances in weather technology! The preliminary death count on Moore is 24… but is likely to rise. Praying for the whole state of Oklahoma.
Onto our local weather… we do have a slight risk for severe storms today:
The threat will be greatest in the later afternoon and evening hours. Any storm will have the potential to produce winds in excess of 60mph, and we could see some larger sized hail. Thankfully, today our tornado threat is not as great… but down in parts of Oklahoma (southeast corner)… Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas… they could see more strong storms with large, long-tracked tornadoes. We will continue to keep you posted on air and online. Follow @WDTN on Twitter for breaking news updates, too.
A severe threat will linger on Wednesday, as a slow-moving cold front approaches. Behind the front on Thursday, showers and even a thunderstorm will still be possible, but the severe threat will be over. Much cooler air builds in for the second half of the week, with highs in the 60s both Thursday and Friday.