Violent EF-5 Tornado Causes Catastrophic Damage in Moore, Oklahoma

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:00 PM GMT on May 21, 2013

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A massive and violent tornado 1.3 miles wide smashed through Moore, Oklahoma near 3 pm CDT Monday, causing catastrophic damage along a 17-mile long path. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma announced that it has found at least one area of EF-5 damage near Briarwood Elementary School, with winds of 200 - 210 mph. Damage was extreme and covered a huge area, and many buildings swept away down to their foundations. The tornado was on the ground for 51 minutes, from 2:45 - 3:36 pm CDT. This averages out to a 20 mph forward speed, and the tornado was initially moving even slower--20 mph. Violent tornadoes typically move considerably faster, sometimes at speeds in excess of 60 mph, and the relatively slow motion of the Moore tornado contributed to the extreme damage by exposing buildings to a longer period of violent winds than usual. A tornado warning for the storm was issued at 2:40 pm CDT, sixteen minutes before it touched down. On average, a tornado warning comes about thirteen minutes before touchdown. A tornado emergency was declared for Moore at 3:01 pm, about twenty minutes before the tornado entered the west side of the city. The debris ball from the tornado, as seen on Doppler radar, expanded to over two miles in diameter, and debris was carried over 100 miles from Moore. The National Weather Service office in Tulsa, Oklahoma reported at 4:13 pm CDT that they were "seeing reports of light tornado debris falling in the Tulsa metro area again this evening, likely from the Moore area." Tulsa is 100 miles east-northeast of Moore.


Figure 1. The Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013. Image credit: WIkipedia.


Figure 2. A fire burns in the Tower Plaza Addition in Moore, Oklahoma, following a tornado on Monday, May 20, 2013. Photo: Sue Ogrocki, ASSOCIATED PRESS.


Figure 3. Flipped vehicles are piled up outside the heavily damaged Moore Medical Center in Moore, Oklahoma, after a powerful tornado ripped through the area on May 20, 2013. On the enhanced Fujita Scale, the maximum degree of damage (11), indicating EF-5 winds of 210 mph, is "Significant damage to building envelope" on an institutional building like a hospital or government office. The damage to the Moore Medical Center may qualify as EF-5 damage. Image credit: Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Here is the tornado warning that was issued at 2:40 pm CDT, sixteen minutes before the tornado touched down:

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
240 PM CDT MON MAY 20 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN MCCLAIN COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
SOUTHERN OKLAHOMA COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
NORTHEASTERN GRADY COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
NORTHERN CLEVELAND COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...

* UNTIL 315 PM CDT

* AT 238 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO. THIS DANGEROUS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR NEWCASTLE...AND MOVING EAST AT 20 MPH.

IN ADDITION TO A TORNADO...LARGE DAMAGING HAIL UP TO GOLF BALL SIZE IS EXPECTED WITH THIS STORM.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...NORMAN...MOORE...NEWCASTLE...BRIDGE CREEK AND VALLEY BROOK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE COVER NOW IN A STORM SHELTER OR AN INTERIOR ROOM OF A STURDY BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM DOORS AND WINDOWS.


At 3:01 pm CDT, five minutes after the tornado touched down and about twenty minutes before the tornado hit the west side of Moore, the NWS issued a "Tornado Emergency" advisory:


BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
301 PM CDT MON MAY 20 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN NORMAN HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
NORTHWESTERN MCCLAIN COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
SOUTHERN OKLAHOMA COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...
NORTHERN CLEVELAND COUNTY IN CENTRAL OKLAHOMA...

* UNTIL 345 PM CDT

* AT 259 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO NEAR NEWCASTLE. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS TORNADO MOVING NORTHEAST AT 20 MPH.

THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR MOORE AND SOUTH OKLAHOMA CITY.

IN ADDITION TO A TORNADO...LARGE DESTRUCTIVE HAIL UP TO TENNIS BALL SIZE IS EXPECTED WITH THIS STORM.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...MIDWEST CITY...MOORE...NEWCASTLE...STANLEY DRAPER LAKE...TINKER AIR FORCE BASE AND VALLEY BROOK.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. IF YOU CANNOT GET UNDERGROUND GO TO A STORM SHELTER OR AN INTERIOR ROOM OF A STURDY BUILDING NOW.

TAKE COVER NOW IN A STORM SHELTER OR AN INTERIOR ROOM OF A STURDY BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM DOORS AND WINDOWS.


Figure 4. The annual number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes, 1954 - 2012. The greatest number of these dangerous tornadoes was 131 in 1974, the year of the notorious "Super Outbreak." The minimum was just 15, set in 1987. The average is 43 per year. Image credit: NOAA.


Figure 5. Violent EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes make up only 1% of all tornadoes, but account for well over half of all deaths. Image credit: tornadoproject.com.

A very bad tornado in an otherwise quiet year for violent tornadoes
According to NOAA, the U.S. has averaged 43 EF-3 or stronger tornadoes per year during the period 1954 - 2012. With tornado season nearly half over, we are well below the average pace for these most dangerous tornadoes--only nine EF-3 and EF-4 tornadoes have been recorded so far in 2013. An average year should have had at least fifteen of these tornadoes by this point in the year. Here are the nine EF-3 and stronger tornadoes so far in 2013:

EF-5, 200 - 210 mph winds, May 20, Moore, Oklahoma. Many deaths and injuries.
EF-4, 166 - 200 mph winds, May 19, Shawnee, Oklahoma. 2 deaths.
EF-4, 180 mph winds, May 15, Granbury, TX. 6 deaths, 24+ injuries.
EF-4, 165 - 185 mph winds, May 18, Rozel, Kansas.
EF-4, 170 mph winds, February 10, Hattiesburg, MS. 0 deaths, 82 injuries,
EF-3, 140 mph winds, May 15, Cleburne, TX. No deaths or injuries.
EF-3, 160 mph winds, January 30, Adairsville, GA. 1 death, 17 injuries, 363 buildings damaged or destroyed.
EF-3, 145 mph winds, April 11, Kemper County, AL. 1 death, 9 injuries.
EF-3, 136 - 165 mph winds, May 19, Luther - Carney, Oklahoma.

Moore tornado likely to be one of the five most damaging tornadoes in history
Moore has the unenviable distinction of having previously experienced the 4th costliest tornado in world history, the notorious May 3, 1999 Bridgecreek-Moore EF-5 tornado. There have been only six billion-dollar (2011 dollars) tornadoes in history:

1) Joplin, Missouri, May 22, 2011, $2.8 billion
2) Topeka, Kansas, June 8, 1966, $1.7 billion
3) Lubbock, Texas, May 11, 19780, $1.5 billion
4) Bridge Creek-Moore, Oklahoma, May 3, 1999, $1.4 billion
5) Xenia, Ohio, April 3, 1974, $1.1 billion
6) Omaha, Nebraska, May 6, 1975, $1 billion

The May 3, 1999 Bridge Creek-Moore tornado killed 36 people and injured 583. It damaged or destroyed 8132 homes, 1041 apartments, 260 businesses, 11 public buildings and seven churches. According to rough estimates of the size of the damaged area made by helicopters operated by news9.com and kfor.com, the damage footprint from the May 20, 2013 tornado is easily twice as large. I expect that after the damage tally from the May 20 tornado is added up, Moore will hold two of the top five spots on the list of most damaging tornadoes in history, and the May 20 tornado may approach the Joplin tornado as the costliest twister of all-time.


Figure 6. Severe weather outlook for Tuesday, May 21, calls for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather over Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas, and small portions of Southeast Oklahoma and Northwest Louisiana. You can follow today's severe weather outbreak from our Severe Weather page.

Here we go again: Another big severe weather day today in the Midwest
The Moore tornado was the first of twenty tornadoes reported on May 20--the third consecutive day with twenty or more tornadoes in the Midwest. Each of these days had a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather, as advised by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC.) The SPC is calling for a fourth consecutive day with a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather today (Tuesday), with the greatest danger occurring over Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas, and small portions of Southeast Oklahoma and Northwest Louisiana. Once again, we can expect to see isolated supercells capable of spawning dangerous violent tornadoes during the late afternoon and early evening hours. The severe weather outbreak moves east and will begin to wind down on Wednesday, when only a "Slight Risk" of severe weather is expected over New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, plus northern portions of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland.


Video 1. Remarkable time-lapse sequence of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado on May 20, 2013, taken from a news helicopter.


Video 2. Stormchasers caught the dramatic sounds and sights of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013 as it moved through the city.


Video 3. Video of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013 taken from a smartphone as the tornado moved across an open field.

Jeff Lechus filmed this remarkable video from his car while trying to get to his son. The flying debris near his car was extremely dangerous, and he is lucky he is alive.

Wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt discusses the deadliest tornadoes of all time in his April, 2011 post. Since that post, the Joplin, Missouri tornado of May 22, 2011, killed 158 people, making it the 7th deadliest tornado in history.

My post, 2011: Year of the Tornado from December 2011, detailing the remarkable tornado records set in 2011.

I saved a 10-frame animation of the radar reflectivity image from the Moore tornado here.

I greatly appreciate all the valuable links members of the WU community have posted here, and I have used many of them in my posts over the past day. Keep up the great work!

How to help
Portlight Strategies, an organization that supports disaster victims with disabilities, will be working with shelter operators and disability stakeholder organizations in Oklahoma to serve the needs of people with disabilities. Further information and how to offer additional support can be found on their website.

Donations can be made to American Red Cross disaster relief at redcross.org/weather or by texting WEATHER to 90999 to donate $10.

Donations can be made on The Salvation Army's website or by texting STORM to 80888 to donate $10. You can also call to make donations of other monetary amounts at (800) 725-2769.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Neapolitan:
Still hanging in as an EF4 for now:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
110 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 5/20/2013 NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO EVENT -
UPDATE 2...

.OVERVIEW...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISPATCHED FOUR DAMAGE SURVEY TEAMS TO
THE PATH OF THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE OK TORNADO. NEW STATEMENTS WILL BE
ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS THESE TEAMS REPORT FINDINGS. THIS
INFORMATION REMAINS PRELIMINARY AND THE INFORMATION HERE COULD
CHANGE.

.NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO

RATING: EF4
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 190 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 17 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: N/A
FATALITIES: N/A
INJURIES: N/A

START DATE: MAY 20 2013
START TIME: 2:45 PM CDT
START LOCATION: 4.4 W NEWCASTLE /GRADY COUNTY /OK
START LAT/LON: 35.2580 / -97.6775

END DATE: MAY 20 2013
END TIME: 3:35 PM CDT
END LOCATION: 4.8 E OF MOORE OK /CLEVELAND COUNTY /OK
END LAT/LON: 35.3409 / -97.4007

SURVEY SUMMARY: FOUR SURVEY TEAMS CONTINUE TO SURVEY THIS LONG TRACK
TORNADO. INITIAL DAMAGE WAS FOUND AROUND 4.4 MILES WEST OF NEWCASTLE
...SOUTH OF TECUMSEH ROAD ALSO KNOWN AS NW 16TH STREET AND EAST LAKE
ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED NE TO THE INTERSTATE 44 BRIDGE OVER THE
CANADIAN RIVER AND THEN TOOK A MORE EASTWARD TRACK THROUGH MOORE.
TORNADO DAMAGE ABRUPTLY ENDS 0.3 MILES EAST OF AIR DEPOT ROAD AND N
OF SE 134TH ST.

INITIALLY PRODUCING EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE THE STORM INTENSIFIED VERY
RAPIDLY IN 4 MILES PRODUCING EF4 DAMAGE BEFORE REACHING INTERSTATE
44. ONGOING SURVEYS THROUGH MOORE HAVE ALREADY DOCUMENTED NUMEROUS
INDICATIONS OF EF4 DAMAGE WITH ESTIMATED WIND SPEEDS OF 190 MPH.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH WILL BE UPDATED
AS THE TEAMS COMPLETE THEIR SURVEYS.


190mph? Nearly an EF-5 and probably will be upgraded to such when teams get to go out there after the search and rescue is completed. Right now it's important to get into houses and help people instead of determining the strength of the tornado after the fact.
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Quoting nervouspete:


I'm reviewing what I saw late last night (really late here in the UK) and I think I got the wrong person. So I deserve a slamming for shooting my mouth off without the facts. Apologies, I was a bit het up.

Overall KFOR and KOCO nailed it.
If you think that was a slam, you shoulda seen me last night when I was in "eat my shorts" mode. lol Thanks for the comeback. No apology necessary.
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Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Hartford County, CT

until 9:00 PM EDT, Tue., May 21, 2013

Other affected areas:



HARTFORD, CT; TOLLAND, CT; WINDHAM, CT; FRANKLIN, MA; HAMPDEN, MA; HAMPSHIRE, MA; WORCESTER, MA; CHESHIRE, NH; KENT, RI; PROVIDENCE, RI

More


------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

Issued by The National Weather Service
Boston, MA

Tue, May 21, 2013, 2:03 PM EDT




Local Radar Map



Updated May 21, 2013, 2:15pm EDT












Weather in Motion® | Enlarge Map




Get WeatherReady

If a Severe Thunderstorm Warning is Issued
Watches & Warnings Explained
Protect Your Home from Hail Damage
Indoor Lightning Safety
Storm Watch (video)
Storm Watch (Video)

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH 204 IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM EDT THIS EVENING FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS

IN CONNECTICUT THIS WATCH INCLUDES 3 COUNTIES

IN NORTHERN CONNECTICUT

HARTFORD TOLLAND WINDHAM

IN MASSACHUSETTS THIS WATCH INCLUDES 4 COUNTIES

IN CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS

WORCESTER

IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

FRANKLIN HAMPDEN HAMPSHIRE

IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THIS WATCH INCLUDES 1 COUNTY

IN SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE

CHESHIRE

IN RHODE ISLAND THIS WATCH INCLUDES 2 COUNTIES

IN NORTHERN RHODE ISLAND

KENT PROVIDENCE

THIS INCLUDES THE CITIES OF... FITCHBURG... GREENFIELD... HARTFORD... KEENE... NORTHAMPTON... PROVIDENCE... PUTNAM... SPRINGFIELD... UNION... VERNON... WARWICK... WILLIMANTIC AND WORCESTER.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


I'm Civil engineer and i bet you that the structure of a masonery wall will not be destroyed.."THE STRUCTURE"


The Laws of Mother Nature supersedes the laws of civil engineering....
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0752
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0119 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

AREAS AFFECTED...NRN TX INTO THE ARKLATEX REGION

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 201...

VALID 211819Z - 212015Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 201 CONTINUES.

SUMMARY...STORMS ARE GRADUALLY INCREASING IN COVERAGE...AND MAY
RAPIDLY INTENSIFY CLOSE TO OR JUST E OF THE DALLAS/FT. WORTH AREA
EWD INTO THE ARKLATEX WITH MAINLY DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL.

DISCUSSION...SURFACE ANALYSIS AND VISIBLE IMAGERY SHOW THAT A BAND
OF THICK STRATUS CONTINUES TO HAMPER HEATING AND SURFACE BASED
DESTABILIZATION W OF THE I-35 CORRIDOR IN TX AS OUTFLOW AND COLD
FRONT CONTINUE TO RAPIDLY TRAVEL SEWD OVER WRN N TX.
CURRENTLY...THESE STORMS ARE FORMING MAINLY BEHIND THE LEADING
OUTFLOW...DUE IN PART TO THE COOLER SURFACE AIR AND MARGINAL STORM
RELATIVE INFLOW.

HOWEVER...HEATING PERSISTS ALONG AND E OF I-35...WITH TEMPERATURES
MAINLY IN THE 82-84 F RANGE. MODIFICATION OF THE 18Z FWD SOUNDING
SUGGESTS CAPPING IN THESE AREAS IS AT A MINIMUM...AND THAT THE
APPROACHING LINE OF CONVECTION WILL STRENGTHEN AS IT BEGINS TO
INGEST MORE UNSTABLE AIR. A GENERAL SWWD GROWTH ALONG THE COLD FRONT
IS ALSO EXPECTED LATER THIS AFTERNOON TOWARD THE WACO AREA. GIVEN
THE RAPIDLY ADVANCING GUST FRONT...AND VEERED 850 MB WINDS PRIMARILY
PARALLEL TO THE BOUNDARY...THE TORNADO THREAT MAY NOT BE HIGH...BUT
IF SUPERCELLS CAN FORM THEN ROTATION COULD DEVELOP ALONG ANY
INFLECTION POINTS IN THE LINE.

ELSEWHERE...AN OUTFLOW BOUNDARY CONTINUES TO SAG SWD ACROSS THE RED
RIVER INTO NRN TX AND SWRN AR...WITH SPORADIC SMALL STORMS FORMING
TO THE N OF IT. THESE CELLS MAY BECOME A BIT BETTER ORGANIZED AS THE
UPPER TROUGH NEARS...AND SOME FURTHER DESTABILIZATION OCCURS
UPSTREAM. DEEP LAYER SHEAR WILL REMAIN FAVORABLE FOR ELEVATED SEVERE
HAIL WITH THIS ACTIVITY PRIOR TO THE MAIN LINE OF STORMS ARRIVING
ACROSS THE RED RIVER VALLEY AND SWRN AR. ALSO...THERE IS A
CONDITIONAL TORNADO THREAT IF CELLS CAN MATURE BEFORE THEY CROSS THE
OUTFLOW BOUNDARY. HOWEVER...CELL MOTION WOULD CAUSE THESE STORMS TO
LOSE TORNADO THREAT QUICKLY ONCE THEY CROSS THE FRONT.

..JEWELL.. 05/21/2013
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Quoting daddyjames:


Hey Levi,

Wait until you hear the sirens sing . . .

Compared with living under the threat of an approaching hurricane, it is a quite different type of stress.

Have done both. I actually prefer the tornado, as you really have a good idea of where it is heading and what to expect (as compared with a hurricane).

To the blog community:
Please do not interpret this as insensitivity to what has just occurred. I have experienced both hurricanes (South Florida) and tornadoes (here in OK - not the most recent ones by the grace of God).
Unfortunately there is a decent chance he will.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FEMA funded over a hundred safe rooms, but not in the two schools that were hit. These apparently were "waiting to be brought forward" because of funding limitations. ...trying to get more safe rooms in schools across the state. Didn't catch who is answering press questions on this - a state official judging by his Okie way of speaking. He's wearing a shirt with "EM" on it. Now he's getting asked about applications for fed funded residential saferooms not getting approved. City manager spoke and said Moore had a lottery to determine who got them because there were so many more applications than funds.

Also...
Gov. Mary Fallin credited the media and storm chasers with saving a lot of lives.

Gonna try to find the resource phone numbers and websites and post them.

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nexsat/NorthAmerica/CONUS/Central
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting muddertracker:
It's humid hot and windy in Austin. I'm edgy.


I'm in NE Pflugerville, so just shy of the tornado watch so its probably wise to stay alert as conditions may change around here. If the cap erodes early enough for the ATX area, we might be included in an updated WW. Keep an eye on the mesoscale discussions at storm prediction center's web site.
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Close up of the Moore, OK storm.
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more severe weather for the northeast
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Still hanging in as an EF4 for now:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK
110 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

...NWS DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 5/20/2013 NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO EVENT -
UPDATE 2...

.OVERVIEW...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DISPATCHED FOUR DAMAGE SURVEY TEAMS TO
THE PATH OF THE NEWCASTLE/MOORE OK TORNADO. NEW STATEMENTS WILL BE
ISSUED THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS THESE TEAMS REPORT FINDINGS. THIS
INFORMATION REMAINS PRELIMINARY AND THE INFORMATION HERE COULD
CHANGE.

.NEWCASTLE/MOORE TORNADO

RATING: EF4
ESTIMATED PEAK WIND: 190 MPH
PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 17 MILES
PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: N/A
FATALITIES: N/A
INJURIES: N/A

START DATE: MAY 20 2013
START TIME: 2:45 PM CDT
START LOCATION: 4.4 W NEWCASTLE /GRADY COUNTY /OK
START LAT/LON: 35.2580 / -97.6775

END DATE: MAY 20 2013
END TIME: 3:35 PM CDT
END LOCATION: 4.8 E OF MOORE OK /CLEVELAND COUNTY /OK
END LAT/LON: 35.3409 / -97.4007

SURVEY SUMMARY: FOUR SURVEY TEAMS CONTINUE TO SURVEY THIS LONG TRACK
TORNADO. INITIAL DAMAGE WAS FOUND AROUND 4.4 MILES WEST OF NEWCASTLE
...SOUTH OF TECUMSEH ROAD ALSO KNOWN AS NW 16TH STREET AND EAST LAKE
ROAD. THE TORNADO TRACKED NE TO THE INTERSTATE 44 BRIDGE OVER THE
CANADIAN RIVER AND THEN TOOK A MORE EASTWARD TRACK THROUGH MOORE.
TORNADO DAMAGE ABRUPTLY ENDS 0.3 MILES EAST OF AIR DEPOT ROAD AND N
OF SE 134TH ST.

INITIALLY PRODUCING EF0 AND EF1 DAMAGE THE STORM INTENSIFIED VERY
RAPIDLY IN 4 MILES PRODUCING EF4 DAMAGE BEFORE REACHING INTERSTATE
44. ONGOING SURVEYS THROUGH MOORE HAVE ALREADY DOCUMENTED NUMEROUS
INDICATIONS OF EF4 DAMAGE WITH ESTIMATED WIND SPEEDS OF 190 MPH.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH WILL BE UPDATED
AS THE TEAMS COMPLETE THEIR SURVEYS.
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Hurricane impact tracking/forecast is tens of time more accurate than any Nado one.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting Levi32:
It's a really weird feeling being under a tornado watch for the first time in my life. It makes my meteorological senses tingle all over. I wonder what it's like for you guys who have lived down here your whole lives.

I'm stuck in Dallas with major delays due to the storms cutting off all routes to Oklahoma City. I'll be here for the squall line when it comes through DFW this afternoon. I hope to see some good stuff.



Hey Levi,

Wait until you hear the sirens sing . . .

Compared with living under the threat of an approaching hurricane, it is a quite different type of stress.

Have done both. I actually prefer the tornado, as you really have a good idea of where it is heading and what to expect (as compared with a hurricane).

To the blog community:
Please do not interpret this as insensitivity to what has just occurred. I have experienced both hurricanes (South Florida) and tornadoes (here in OK - not the most recent ones by the grace of God).
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting opal92nwf:

Unfortunately an F4/F5 will still destroy what your picture shows. Places like the elementary school in this tornado were built with reinforced concrete and still effectively destroyed. Yes it really helps, but when we get into F4/F5's and even Cat. 5 superstorms, pretty much anythings is going to be heavily damaged or destroyed.


Yes. With tornadoes of this magnitude there are really very few building materials/construction that can withstand such force. Between the wind speed, pressure and debris the only safe place is basically underground. When the F5 Jarrell Texas tornado happened in 1997, asphalt was literally torn off the pavement and an entire neighborhood was stripped to the houses’ foundation.
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Tornadoes, Extreme Weather And Climate Change, Revisited

The big tornado outbreak, including a monster Oklahoma twister, have people asking again about a possible link to climate change. I’ll review the science in this post. Link
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132. beell
:-)
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Quoting daddyjames:


Have you been watching TWC "Hacking the Planet", Hacking a Tornado? In theory, it could work. In reality, the expense of installing and maintaining such a system is cost prohibitive.


No, never saw that. It's all my own idea. Don't see that it would need much maintenance.
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Public Severe Weather Outlook (PWO)
Print Version
Experimental Multimedia Briefing MP4.
Please note this briefing may be out of date after 1636 UTC on 05/21/2013 and there will be no subsequent updates during the day.
Please send comments or questions to spc.feedback@noaa.gov or using the feedback page.
View What is a Watch? clip.
ZCZC SPCPWOSPC ALL
WOUS40 KWNS 211643
ARZ000-LAZ000-OKZ000-TXZ000-220200-

PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1143 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013

...SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPECTED OVER PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS
AND ARKLATEX THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT...

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OK IS FORECASTING THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A FEW STRONG TORNADOES...AND SCATTERED TO WIDESPREAD
DAMAGING WINDS/LARGE HAIL OVER PARTS OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND
ARKLATEX THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.

THE AREAS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THIS ACTIVITY INCLUDE

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS
NORTHWEST LOUISIANA
FAR SOUTHEAST OKLAHOMA
NORTH-CENTRAL AND NORTHEAST TEXAS

ELSEWHERE...SEVERE STORMS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE FROM THE LOWER MS VALLEY
TO THE LOWER GREAT LAKES AND NORTHEAST.

ONGOING CLUSTER OF SEVERE STORMS ACROSS SRN OK INTO NWRN TX WILL
DEVELOP E/SEWD ACROSS MOST OF N-CNTRL/NERN TX THROUGH THE AFTERNOON.
THIS ACTIVITY WILL EXPAND IN COVERAGE AND SHOULD TAKE ON A
LINEAR/BOWING SHAPE...POSSIBLY ACCELERATING AS IT REACHES THE
ARKLATEX AREA IN THE EARLY EVENING. A VOLATILE COMBINATION OF
INGREDIENTS MAY YIELD A SUBSTANTIAL SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR
POTENTIALLY WIDESPREAD AND DESTRUCTIVE DAMAGING WINDS...LARGE HAIL
AND A FEW STRONG TORNADOES.

STATE AND LOCAL EMERGENCY MANAGERS ARE MONITORING THIS DEVELOPING
SITUATION. THOSE IN THE THREATENED AREA ARE URGED TO REVIEW SEVERE
WEATHER SAFETY RULES AND TO LISTEN TO RADIO...TELEVISION...AND NOAA
WEATHER RADIO FOR POSSIBLE WATCHES...WARNINGS...AND STATEMENTS LATER
TODAY.

..GRAMS.. 05/21/2013
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting Levi32:
It's a really weird feeling being under a tornado watch for the first time in my life. It makes my meteorological senses tingle all over. I wonder what it's like for you guys who have lived down here your whole lives.

I'm stuck in Dallas with major delays due to the storms cutting off all routes to Oklahoma City. I'll be here for the squall line when it comes through DFW this afternoon. I hope to see some good stuff.



Dallas has a Torcon rating of 6 today, the highest in the country.
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Quoting Barefootontherocks:
When did you see Emily Sutton from KFOR interview someone? She is a studio met who was out chasing for the first season on air and guess, what, the first thing she got handed was a violent tornado, two days in a row. She did a darn good job.

KFOR has Reed Timmer also, but he was on different cells.

Without the OKC media and their knowledge of severe weather in Oklahoma, many more Oklahomans would have died in this outbreak.

I will now resign for my self-appointed position of trying to speak the truth and educate the ignorant.

Ps. Overnight authorities told all the media to get out of ground zero because they were so loud, rescue people could not hear cries for help. Of course, this is Oklahoma and they were polite about it. They relocated them to parking lots removed from the devastated areas.


I'm reviewing what I saw late last night (really late here in the UK) and I think I got the wrong person. So I deserve a slamming for shooting my mouth off without the facts. Apologies, I was a bit het up.

Overall KFOR and KOCO nailed it.
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Quoting yonzabam:
There was a tornado a couple of days ago, the one near Wichita, I think, which dissipated as it went over a lake, sucking up the cool water. It might only have been temporary.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how to defend towns, like Moore. Suppose you had giant tanks of supercooled liquid nitrogen buried just under the surface to the west and south west of a threatened town, which would release their contents when a tornado went over them. Okay, you'd need a lot of nitrogen for a 2 mile wide tornado, but if cool water from a lake can stop one, even temporarily, it might be something worth thinking about.


Have you been watching TWC "Hacking the Planet", Hacking a Tornado? In theory, it could work. In reality, the expense of installing and maintaining such a system is cost prohibitive.
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It's humid hot and windy in Austin. I'm edgy.
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Quoting stormchaser19:


I'm Civil engineer and i bet you that the structure of a masonery wall will not be destroyed.."THE STRUCTURE"

An EF5 tornado rips dirt out of the ground, debarks rees, and reduces brick homes to powdered and/or indistinguishable pieces. It completely levelled the two schools in Moore, which were arguably the two strongest buildings in the tornado-prepared city. Do you really think any building stands a chance against 200 mph winds?
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Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Compared to yesterday, without a doubt. Today will probably be the only day I will ever root for a derecho-like setup.
I am not even sure if that is a derecho. Seems like just a line of storms that happen to be along a low pressure. Could very well be wrong though. A derecho is possible today.
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Strong Storms Over Oklahoma

This image of the storm system that generated the F-4 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma was taken by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard one of the Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites. The image was captured on May 20, 2013, at 19:40 UTC (2:40 p.m. CDT) as the tornado began its deadly swath.

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
If one doesn't have a storm shelter or the resources to build one, wouldn't it be wise to come up with a solid evacuation plan which would be activated as soon as a tornado warning is issued? The evacuation plan would consist of hoping into the nearest available vehicle and driving at least 10 miles in the safest direction (generally north or south).

Is this feasible? Please don't bash me if this sounds ridiculous. :P
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It's a really weird feeling being under a tornado watch for the first time in my life. It makes my meteorological senses tingle all over. I wonder what it's like for you guys who have lived down here your whole lives.

I'm stuck in Dallas with major delays due to the storms cutting off all routes to Oklahoma City. I'll be here for the squall line when it comes through DFW this afternoon. I hope to see some good stuff.

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Rick Smith, Warning Co-ordination Meteorologist at NWS Norman stated at the press conference the NWS survey team has been delayed by severe thunderstorms.

They have a 17-mile-long path, 190 mph winds and have not surveyed yet in the most heavily damaged areas.
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There was a tornado a couple of days ago, the one near Wichita, I think, which dissipated as it went over a lake, sucking up the cool water. It might only have been temporary.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how to defend towns, like Moore. Suppose you had giant tanks of supercooled liquid nitrogen buried just under the surface to the west and south west of a threatened town, which would release their contents when a tornado went over them. Okay, you'd need a lot of nitrogen for a 2 mile wide tornado, but if cool water from a lake can stop one, even temporarily, it might be something worth thinking about.
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Quoting hydrus:
The new WRF run is unsettling to say the least.
$$
Why? Seems like a strong linear line of storms form without discrete super cells. Which would be a good thing.
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SPC Storm-Scale Ensemble of Opportunity*
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting opal92nwf:

Unfortunately an F4/F5 will still destroy what your picture shows. Places like the elementary school in this tornado were built with reinforced concrete and still effectively destroyed. Yes it really helps, but when we get into F4/F5's and even Cat. 5 superstorms, pretty much anythings is going to be heavily damaged or destroyed.


I'm Civil engineer and i bet you that the structure of a masonery wall will not be destroyed.."THE STRUCTURE"
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SEL3

URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH NUMBER 203
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
140 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
NORTHWEST CONNECTICUT
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS
NEW YORK
SOUTHERN VERMONT
LAKE ERIE
LAKE ONTARIO

* EFFECTIVE THIS TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 140 PM UNTIL
900 PM EDT.

* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...
SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2
INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 70 MPH POSSIBLE

THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 55
STATUTE MILES NORTH AND SOUTH OF A LINE FROM 10 MILES WEST
NORTHWEST OF BUFFALO NEW YORK TO 30 MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF
PITTSFIELD MASSACHUSETTS. FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH
SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU3).

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

REMEMBER...A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE
FAVORABLE FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH
AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR
THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS
AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS. SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS CAN AND OCCASIONALLY
DO PRODUCE TORNADOES.

&&

OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 201...WW 202...

DISCUSSION...SCATTERED VIGOROUS STORM DEVELOPMENT IS UNDERWAY
NEAR/SOUTH OF A FRONTAL ZONE EXTENDING ACROSS THE LOWER GREAT LAKES
REGION INTO NEW ENGLAND. IN THE PRESENCE OF THERMODYNAMIC PROFILES
CHARACTERIZED BY FAIRLY STEEP MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES AND LARGE
CAPE...SHEAR BENEATH 30 KT WEST NORTHWESTERLY MID-LEVEL FLOW MAY
SUPPORT ORGANIZED STORM DEVELOPMENT...PERHAPS AT LEAST BRIEF
SUPERCELL STRUCTURES. WITH TIME...CONSOLIDATION OF COLD POOLS
GENERATED BY ACTIVITY MAY OCCUR...RESULTING IN ONE OR MORE EAST
SOUTHEASTWARD PROGRESSING SMALL STORM CLUSTERS WITH THE RISK FOR
POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WIND GUSTS...IN ADDITION TO SEVERE HAIL.

AVIATION...A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL SURFACE AND ALOFT
TO 2 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE WIND GUSTS TO 60
KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO 500. MEAN STORM
MOTION VECTOR 29025.


...KERR
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
The new WRF run is unsettling to say the least.VALID 211740Z - 211840Z

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT CONTINUES RIGHT OF A LINE FROM 25 SE SPS TO
40 ENE SPS TO 5 WSW OKC.

..JEWELL..05/21/13

ATTN...WFO...OUN...TSA...

&&

STATUS REPORT FOR WS 202

SEVERE WEATHER THREAT CONTINUES FOR THE FOLLOWING AREAS

OKC005-019-027-029-049-061-063-067-069-077-079-08 7-091-099-101-
107-109-111-121-123-125-127-133-135-137-211840-

OK
. OKLAHOMA COUNTIES INCLUDED ARE

ATOKA CARTER CLEVELAND
COAL GARVIN HASKELL
HUGHES JEFFERSON JOHNSTON
LATIMER LE FLORE MCCLAIN
MCINTOSH MURRAY MUSKOGEE
OKFUSKEE OKLAHOMA OKMULGEE
PITTSBURG PONTOTOC POTTAWATOMIE
PUSHMATAHA SEMINOLE SEQUOYAH
STEPHENS
$$
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"@AaronTuttleOK: Our OKC TDWR recorded tornado wind speeds of 270 mph at 350 ft elevation on WSW side of Moore, OK. http://t.co/oiexWkLKw9 #okwx"

The tornado at the ground probably had winds in the order of 210-220 mph.
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College of DuPage Meteorology
Severe Weather and Flash Flood Warnings
Note: This page will reload every 2 minutes. Warnings are listed with the most recent first


Click on the station ID to bring up list of recent severe weather statements.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING LITTLE ROCK AR - KLZK 1247 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NASHVILLE TN - KOHX 1231 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING BINGHAMTON NY - KBGM 124 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013
FLASH FLOOD WARNING TULSA OK - KTSA 1219 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
FLASH FLOOD WARNING TULSA OK - KTSA 1215 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1215 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NASHVILLE TN - KOHX 1205 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING FORT WORTH TX - KFWD 1200 PM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1159 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING SAN ANGELO TX - KSJT 1157 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
FLASH FLOOD WARNING MEMPHIS TN - KMEG 1153 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING BINGHAMTON NY - KBGM 1252 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING BUFFALO NY - KBUF 1234 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING BUFFALO NY - KBUF 1232 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1130 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1128 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
FLASH FLOOD WARNING CHARLESTON SC - KCHS 1227 PM EDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1058 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING SAN ANGELO TX - KSJT 1053 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
FLASH FLOOD WARNING LITTLE ROCK AR - KLZK 1040 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1018 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 1017 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING SAN ANGELO TX - KSJT 1012 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
SVR T-STORM WARNING NORMAN OK - KOUN 954 AM CDT TUE MAY 21 2013
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 128764
Quoting stormchaser19:
I always question why those city of central US that are affected every year by tornados, don't build their house of masonry walls,I make the question because here in Dominican Republic we build house like that because the cyclones...I know the EF4 AND EF5 winds are even more strong that a Cat.5 Hurricane but atleast the damage will don't be that catastrophic!!!!!!
Masonry walls


Unfortunately an F4/F5 will still destroy what your picture shows. Places like the elementary school in this tornado were built with reinforced concrete and still effectively destroyed. Yes it really helps, but when we get into F4/F5's and even Cat. 5 superstorms, pretty much anythings is going to be heavily damaged or destroyed.
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Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Just speculation. Nothing official.
Thank's!
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
When should we see the supercells begin to initiate?
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Although, not a current subject of the blog . . .

. . . there have been several erroneous comments and outrage (in previous blogs) regarding that there are, or should be, underground shelters in OK - because (to paraphrase) "we are in Tornado Alley and are prepared".

As I mentioned before, it has to do with the soil type that predominately occurs in OK, the high water table, and the associated expense to properly construct and maintain an underground shelter of considerable size.

A link to a recent news post that explains why most of the buildings and homes in Oklahoma DO NOT have underground basements/shelters.

Why Don't More Homes in Oklahoma Have Basements?

Small underground shelters can be constructed and installed. One reason why Oklahoma has been encouraging people to "Do it themselves".

Although, as mentioned previously, this leaves apartment dwellers and people in mobile home parks, out in the "wind".
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Quoting SouthernIllinois:

At this point I am leaning more towards a long lasting derecho wind event later this evening after the supercells make their transition. And that sure ain't nothing to mess around with either. Especially with the larger cities and higher population concentration under the gun.
This is for shure???
Member Since: October 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 2026
We have no idea how many died yesterday. Let's just keep it at 24 since that's the lowest confirmed number I've seen.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.