Moore Tornado an EF-5; $2 Billion Damage Estimate: 3rd Costliest Tornado in History

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:22 PM GMT on May 22, 2013

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The Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013 is now ranked an EF-5, making it one of only 59 U.S. tornadoes to achieve that distinction since record keeping began in 1950. The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma announced Tuesday that their damage survey teams found an area of EF-5 damage near Briarwood Elementary School, with winds of 200 - 210 mph indicated. There were no EF-5 tornadoes observed in 2012, and the last time the U.S. had an EF-5 was on May 24, 2011, when the Oklahoma towns of Calumet, El Reno, Piedmont, and Guthrie were hit by an EF-5 with 210+ mph winds that killed nine people. The maximum width of the 2013 Moore tornado's damage swath was a huge 1.3 miles. Detailed damage survey information in Google Earth Format provided by the Norman, OK NWS office shows that the typical width of the EF-0 and greater damage swath was about 0.6 miles, and the EF-4 damage area was about 0.1 miles across at its widest. EF-4 damage occurred along approximately 4 miles of the tornado's 17-mile long path. The damage swath from the May 20, 2013 tornado as it cut through the most densely built up portions of Moore was roughly 1.5 times as wide as the one from the May 3, 1999 EF-5 tornado. That tornado was the 4th costliest in history ($1.4 billion 2011 dollars), so it is a good bet that the 2013 Moore tornado will end up being even more expensive. This morning, the Oklahoma Insurance Department said the preliminary tornado damage estimate could top $2 billion. This would make the 2013 Moore tornado the 2nd most expensive tornado in history (as ranked by NOAA/SPC) or 3rd most expensive (as ranked by insurance broker Aon Benfield.) The nine billion-dollar tornadoes (2013 dollars) are:

1) Joplin, Missouri, May 22, 2011, $2.9 billion
2) Tuscaloosa, Alabama, April 27, 2011, $2.3 billion (not in SPC's list)
3) Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013, $2 billion
4) Topeka, Kansas, June 8, 1966, $1.8 billion
5) Lubbock, Texas, May 11, 1970, $1.5 billion
6) Bridge Creek-Moore, Oklahoma, May 3, 1999, $1.4 billion
7) Hackleburg, Alabama, April 27, 2011, $1.3 billion (not in SPC's list)
8) Xenia, Ohio, April 3, 1974, $1.1 billion
9) Omaha, Nebraska, May 6, 1975, $1 billion


Figure 1. The Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013 (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)


Figure 2. The damage swath of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of May 20, 2013. EF-4 damage (red colors) occurred along roughly 4 miles of the 17-mile path, and the EF-4 damage swath was up to 0.1 miles wide. The tornado's maximum width of 1.3 miles (EF-0 and greater damage) occurred over a relatively small portion of the path, before the storm reached Moore. Image credit: NWS Norman.


Figure 3. On May 20, 2013, a supercell thunderstorm in central Oklahoma spawned a destructive tornado that passed just south of Oklahoma City. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of the storm system at 2:40 p.m. Central Daylight Time (19:40 Universal Time), just minutes before the devastating twister began. The red line on the image depicts the tornado’s track. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

There have been bigger tornadoes
The 1.3 mile maximum width of the 2013 Moore tornado's damage swath was not a record. Wikipedia documents that the EF-3 Edmonson, Texas tornado of May 31, 1968 had a damage path width between 2 and 3 miles (3.2 and 4.8 km) wide. The EF-4 Wilber - Hallam, Nebraska tornado on May 22, 2004 was of similar size, with a damage path up to 2.5 miles wide. Doppler radar measurements indicate that the May 4, 1999 Mulhall, Oklahoma EF-4 tornado--which thankfully passed mostly over farmland--would have caused damage over a path 4 miles wide at its peak size, had it encountered a built-up area. The EF-5 tornado that devastated Greensburg, Kansas on May 4, 2007 was 1.7 miles wide.


Figure 4. Damage swath of the Wilber - Hallam, Nebraska EF-4 tornado of May 22, 2004 was up to 2.5 miles wide, making it one of the largest tornadoes on record.


Figure 5. Severe weather outlook for Wednesday, May 22, calls for a "Slight Risk" of severe weather over portions of the Ohio Valley and Northeast U.S. You can follow today's severe weather from our Severe Weather page.

No tornadoes reported on Tuesday; "Slight Risk" of severe weather on Wednesday
The severe weather outbreak of May 18 - 22 peaked on Sunday and Monday. We did not record any tornadoes on Tuesday, though there were many reports of large hail and damaging winds, including three thunderstorms with wind gusts over 74 mph. Tuesday was the first day since May 14 that no tornadoes were recorded in the U.S. And after issuing four consecutive "Moderate Risk" outlooks for severe weather, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is going with only a "Slight Risk" for severe weather on Wednesday in the U.S., with the main severe weather action expected to affect portions of the Ohio Valley and Northeast U.S. The primary threat will be straight-line wind damage and large hail, though we can't rule out a few tornadoes. During the three-day period May 18 - May 20, 70 tornadoes (preliminary) were recorded by SPC.


Video 1. Charles Cook caught the birth of the May 20, 2013 tornado at Newcastle, OK. It moved from there to Moore where it caused catastrophic devastation.


Video 2. NOAA's GOES-East satellite collected this view of the storm system that spawned a deadly tornado over Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. The animation runs from 10:45 a.m. through 6:45 p.m., Central Daylight Time. Images courtesy NASA GOES Project Science: ‪http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/‬

The Norman, OK NWS office has an excellent page with detailed info on the Moore tornado.

I did a 10-minute Skype interview with democracynow.org on Tuesday morning, discussing the Moore tornado.

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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Burning Down One Side
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:
GOES 13 had a problem with both the imager and the sounder toward the end of the 2012 hurricane season. GOES 13 was put into storage while engineers tried to resolve the problem and GOES 14 was placed onto active duty but it was slowly moved to where GOES 13 is "parked". Engineers resolved the problem and GOES 13 was put back into and GOES 14 was place into storage at 90 degrees west.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127377
Quoting stormpetrol:


Pressures tend to be lowering in the SW & NW Caribbean now compared to a few days ago.


More than likely associated with the Colombian heat low. The tropical wave is still well to the east for now, so there would be no large scale pressure falls with the convergent side.
Member Since: March 7, 2007 Posts: 550 Comments: 19798
Quoting VR46L:


Check the time stamp :)

thats pretty old imagery now


Oops. Thanks.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
May the Powers Above keep me safe and away from ever seeing such apocalyptic power of nature.
Makes me shiver and lower my blood pressure looking at some videos of Death. (tornado)

some or many of you may never want to under go through that I'm sure
Seeing the damage from EF3 tornado, I can't imagine EF4/EF5 damage... hope I never have to see that in North Carolina.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7890
462. VR46L
Quoting Civicane49:


Check the time stamp :)

thats pretty old imagery now
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I met NHC Avila here the day after quickscat Failed..,

..was a good talk too.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127377
.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
May the Powers Above keep me safe and away from ever seeing such apocalyptic power of nature.
Makes me shiver and lower my blood pressure looking at some videos of Death. (tornado)

some or many of you may never want to under go through that I'm sure
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14870
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Probably a non-tropical low...by the way is it just me or do I get the sense Jasoniscoolman is blogging in here?
Your not the only one..probably hurricane2018..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16327
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Yep, here is another ensemble member...nothing.



I posted the 12z ensemble spread which I thought is a bunch of the ensemble members in agreement and it showed more than one on that run..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting washingtonian115:
But it still shows that storm out in the Atlantic..I'm still skeptical of anything though.
Probably a non-tropical low...by the way is it just me or do I get the sense Jasoniscoolman is blogging in here?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Yep, here is another ensemble member...nothing.

But it still shows that storm out in the Atlantic..I'm still skeptical of anything though.
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16327
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
500 PM PDT WED MAY 22 2013

FOR THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC...EAST OF 140 DEGREES WEST LONGITUDE..

1. AN AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER CENTERED ABOUT 450 MILES
SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF ACAPULCO MEXICO HAS CHANGED LITTLE IN
ORGANIZATION DURING THE PAST SEVERAL HOURS. SOME DEVELOPMENT IS
POSSIBLE AS THE DISTURBANCE MOVES WESTWARD TO WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT
10 TO 15 MPH. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE...20 PERCENT...OF
BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER AVILA
NNNN
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting wxchaser97:

It's just one ensemble member, nothing too significant. Now, if that was the ensemble mean then there would be much more significance in that.
Yep, here is another ensemble member...nothing.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
452. VR46L
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

Look I don't care tell me when a satellite is up over the W hemisphere


Ya might if you have a Cat5 barreling towards the Caymans . Goes14 doing the extra work is just not as good !
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting WDEmobmet:


Your late... thats old news :)




ugh well am guss am two for two
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

Look I don't care tell me when a satellite is up over the W hemisphere




you need too just chill out



Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting wunderkidcayman:

Look I don't care tell me when a satellite is up over the W hemisphere
I believe GOES-13 is the most important satellite in Atlantic hurricane tracking. It's a shame that it's not working well, but GOES-14 should cover it for that satellite.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7890
Quoting Tazmanian:
any one see this?

SPECIAL MESSAGE: GOES-13 (GOES-East)
GOES-13 imaging and sounding operations suspended. Recovery efforts for GOES-13 continue and the spacecraft health and safety are nominal. GOES-14 is being activated


Link


Your late... thats old news :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Bluestorm5:
I think it's just what one member of GFS ensemble is saying. Doesn't mean we'll have tropical storm in near future.

It's just one ensemble member, nothing too significant. Now, if that was the ensemble mean then there would be much more significance in that.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7927
Quoting GTcooliebai:
12z GFS one of the ensemble members:



Tampa is up... not buying the model though
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14870
Quoting Tazmanian:
any one see this?

SPECIAL MESSAGE: GOES-13 (GOES-East)
GOES-13 imaging and sounding operations suspended. Recovery efforts for GOES-13 continue and the spacecraft health and safety are nominal. GOES-14 is being activated


Link

Look I don't care tell me when a satellite is up over the W hemisphere
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
any one see this?

SPECIAL MESSAGE: GOES-13 (GOES-East)
GOES-13 imaging and sounding operations suspended. Recovery efforts for GOES-13 continue and the spacecraft health and safety are nominal. GOES-14 is being activated


Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Civicane49:


I had doubts that it will develop.

The CPHC has released its annual Central Pacific hurricane season prediction and my numbers are same as them.


Tommorow NOAA will release the North Atlantic and East Pacific outlooks.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 13931
TESLA REPAYS DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY LOAN NINE YEARS EARLY
ONLY AMERICAN CAR COMPANY TO HAVE PAID BACK GOVERNMENT


WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2013

PALO ALTO, Calif.-- Tesla Motors announced that it has paid off the entire loan awarded to the company by the Department of Energy in 2010. In addition to payments made in 2012 and Q1 2013, today's wire of almost half a billion dollars ($451.8M) repays the full loan facility with interest. Following this payment, Tesla will be the only American car company to have fully repaid the government.

For the first seven years since its founding in 2003, Tesla was funded entirely with private funds, led by Elon Musk. Tesla brought its Roadster sports car to market with a 30% gross margin, designed electric powertrains for Daimler (Mercedes) and had done preliminary design of the Model S all before receiving a government loan.

In 2010, Tesla was awarded a milestone-based loan, requiring matching private capital obtained via public offering, by the DOE as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program. This program was signed into law by President Bush in 2008 and then awarded under the Obama administration in the years that followed.

This program is often confused with the financial bailouts provided to the then bankrupt GM and Chrysler, who were ineligible for the ATVM program, because a requirement of that program was good financial health.
...
http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/t esla-repays-department-energy-loan-nine-years-earl y
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting rmbjoe1954:


Hi there. I meant 'Blobologist' but I guess you knew that already, LOL.
i thought maybe, but it works either way...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167


Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
weather map!! low next to Miami,fl
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hurricanes2018:
two tropical storm on here.
Laughable..
Member Since: August 14, 2010 Posts: 10 Comments: 16327
Quoting hurricanes2018:
two tropical storm on here.
I think it's just what one member of GFS ensemble is saying. Doesn't mean we'll have tropical storm in near future.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7890
Another big shower here in western Nassau.

Probably a half an inch of rain in the 20 minutes it's been raining.
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Need Help

Does anyone use Virtual Weather Station
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two tropical storm on here.
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1 year ago today: Alberto died

You are missed dearly, we wish you were reincarnated as Andrea as soon as possible!

Never forget Alberto, :(
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JNTenne:
with advanced degrees in Blobological phenomena...
Quoting JNTenne:
with advanced degrees in Blobological phenomena...


Hi there. I meant 'Blobologist' but I guess you knew that already, LOL.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting PedleyCA:
RIP Ray Manzarek

That's a shame. Music lost it's greatest keyboardist. What would be of the Doors without Ray? He was just as important to the band as Jim.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting rmbjoe1954:


Grothar is Chief Meterological Blogologist
with advanced degrees in Blobological phenomena...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
RIP Ray Manzarek
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31343
Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:
It didn't last long.

BEGIN
NHC_ATCF
invest_DEACTIVATE_ep912013.ren
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201305222003
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END


I had doubts that it will develop.

The CPHC has released its annual Central Pacific hurricane season prediction and my numbers are same as them.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
12z GFS one of the ensemble members:

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:


You better look out for him. At his age the eyesight tends to go and things like this can happen!


Ugg! I am worried he will serve us herring balls and ganukaflugen.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's the radar image at the tornado's peak intensity. The maximum gate-to-gate wind velocity is 198.3 knots, or 228.2 mph. The tornado was rated an EF5 with winds between 225 and 250 mph.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 112 Comments: 31343
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Did I read correctly that Grothar is the new morning blog chef?


You better look out for him. At his age the eyesight tends to go and things like this can happen!
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8550
The prunes keep me a er, "regular".
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 419 Comments: 127377
Quoting washingtonian115:
Don't doubt yourself Bluestorms.There's room for you also in the met world.I never was one because I stick at math :)
I know, but what I meant is that TA13 got a chance to go higher level than I can. And haha, I understand. I'm pretty good at math and science... until Calculus. Calculus and some physics will be my biggest struggle in upcoming college years, haha.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 28 Comments: 7890

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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.

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