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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Back to weather,the MDR continues to warm slowly in the past few days again after the downward trend of the past couple of weeks.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
But great, I got made out to look like the bad guy here when I was just joking. I guess I should quit with the humor since some don't know how to take it. Anyway, back to weather.


I don't think anyone is seeing you as the 'badguy', MSWx.

Everyone needs to just chill out and enjoy a Fresca. :)
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

Don't take it too personally. Next time, maybe just source those kinds of statistics, especially when it is still an unfolding situation and different news/info-gathering sources can differ in their numbers.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3192
,
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
311. VR46L
Quoting AtHomeInTX:


Awe. Hang in there VR. That's how I felt when I lost all my model site links. :) Hope it gets fixed soon.


Are you still missing some?

Maybe I Can Help I have alot of Sites bookmarked
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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.




TA,we appreciate that, but i think MississippiWx is kidding you..:) Lol
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4:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday: Golf ball-sized hail reported in Wayne, N.Y.

4:13 p.m. EDT Wednesday: Flash flooding reported in Rexford, N.Y.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


No worries, I still post incorrect info and I've been here for a better part of a decade.


Uh, I'm wrong a lot more than I'm right. That's why I'm amateur-level. ;-)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
Quoting CybrTeddy:


No worries, I still post incorrect info and I've been here for a better part of a decade.


Agree 100%. Any person is perfect.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.


No worries, I still post incorrect info and I've been here for a better part of a decade.
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Hey TA13, don't listen to the haters as most of us enjoy your post. Infact I think some maybe jealous of how much knowledge you have about weather. Keep up the great work!


TA 13 and STS you both are assets to this forum and I really appreciate your input. It's educational and fun.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

I knew you were joking, my post wasn't directly at you. Other peoples have said that to me either on the blog or via mail, and I still got a little annoyed when you said it.

Seriously, back later.


Ah, well, others don't have the right to make fun of you. Only I can bash you and it's okay. ;-)
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
300. VR46L
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


You can use the aviation weather site to get some images.....


True but its not the same ... its great for near the poles Images but its not Goes 13.

Thanks for posting the link
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Quoting hurricanes2018:
WOW!!!!! HOT WEATHER!! PINK COLORS!!

OMG IKR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLUE COLORS TOO!!!


But seriously, warm pattern setting up in the east/central and cool pattern in the west per 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


Lol. Wow. You know it's a joke. You do the same thing to me all the time. You came back at me with a sarcastic remark when I told you you were incorrect. Either be able to joke and take jokes back at you or don't do them at all. No sympathy from me.

I knew you were joking, my post wasn't directly at you. Other peoples have said that to me either on the blog or via mail, and I still got a little annoyed when you said it.

Seriously, back later.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31920
Quoting SouthernIllinois:

Yes. Great post. Not only jealously, but insecurity on the part of those who wish to bash. They feel threatened, lagging behind, uncertain, and as a result they can't get their bearings and they break down.

I wouldn't take any of that personally. Keep you head up TA13! I love what you bring here, and you don't come across as some might percieve.


Lol. No one was bashing him...at all.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
It's looking like a very cold, wet holiday weekend in my area, unfortunately:

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.

Toughen up there, guy!

Part of becoming an adult is understanding that all criticisms are not INHERENTLY personal. Just because someone disagrees with your statement or idea or hypothesis or reasoning does not mean they don't value you as a person.

Don't take all criticisms emotionally.
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HOT!!
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.


Lol. Wow. You know it's a joke. You do the same thing to me all the time. You came back at me with a sarcastic remark when I told you you were incorrect. Either be able to joke and take jokes back at you or don't do them at all. No sympathy from me.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
WOW!!!!! HOT WEATHER!! PINK COLORS!!
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Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Hey TA13 don't listen to the haters as most of us enjoy your post. Infact I think some maybe jealous of how much knowledge you have about weather. Keep up the great work!


Scott..come on man..jealous??..LOL..

it could be in his approach in correcting others..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15225
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.


I might stop too, I was banned earlier for posting a pic of the women's leg impaled, which is factual, legitimate, weather related info.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.


Hey TA13, don't listen to the haters as most of us enjoy your post. Infact I think some maybe jealous of how much knowledge you have about weather. Keep up the great work!
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FLOOD ADVISORY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JUAN PR
415 PM AST WED MAY 22 2013

PRC007-025-063-222315-
/O.NEW.TJSJ.FA.Y.0103.130522T2015Z-130522T2315Z/
/00000.N.ER.000000T0000Z.000000T0000Z.000000T0000 Z.OO/
CAGUAS PR-GURABO PR-AGUAS BUENAS PR-
415 PM AST WED MAY 22 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SAN JUAN HAS ISSUED AN

* URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR MINOR FLOODING OF POOR
DRAINAGE AREAS IN
FOR THE FOLLOWING MUNICIPALITIES...

IN PUERTO RICO
CAGUAS...GURABO AND AGUAS BUENAS

* UNTIL 715 PM AST

* AT 412 PM AST...DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR IS INDICATING SCATTERED TO
NUMEROUS SHOWERS...WITH EMBEDDED THUNDERSTORMS AND HEAVY RAINFALL...
MOVING INTO THE ADVISORY AREA. AFTER THIS HEAVY RAINFALL...
ADDITIONAL SHOWERS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY INTENSITY WILL CONTINUE TO
AFFECT THESE MUNICIPALITIES THROUGH AT LEAST 715 PM AST.

EXCESSIVE RUNOFF WILL CAUSE FLOODING OF CREEKS AND STREAMS...ROADS
AND ROADSIDE CULVERTS. THE HEAVY RAINS COULD ALSO TRIGGER ROCK AND
MUDSLIDES IN STEEP TERRAIN.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY. THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO CROSS
SAFELY. MOVE TO HIGHER GROUND.

&&

LAT...LON 1827 6592 1825 6595 1823 6594 1821 6600
1816 6602 1817 6610 1821 6612 1820 6614
1822 6614 1823 6617 1826 6619 1828 6617
1828 6611 1831 6605 1831 6597

$$

ER
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Quoting hurricanehunter27:
He got it from Wikipedia.

At least Wikipedia articles have sources. This would be flagged as a bad article in Wikipedia.
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I really don't understand. When I was younger and made posts here with incorrect information or only slightly accurate observations, others helped me by explaining or correcting. I just try to do the same and lately have been being called a genius and know-it-all on me. I just try to help out like I was, but apparently that's not working for y'all, so I'll just stop.

I have stuff to do, I'll be back later.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31920
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No, I'm pretty sure 4 isobars on a low are much different than 2 sickly-appearing ones. Thanks anyways though.

I posted the 240hrs cmc and you were talking about the 228hr, oops.

240hr Meteo Centre:


240hr: Levi's site:
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Here's that err...tropical thingy zoomed in on the 12z CMC.


TA has scorned his first love.
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Quoting bappit:

Source?
He got it from Wikipedia.
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Wonder if the ridges would bridge together and block it from going north, and it moves west into GOM

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12Z Euro sure is interesting.

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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Son of a-- wow!


That photo of the wood impaling the curb is from the Joplin tornado, not Moore. It has been circulating the web and people are saying that it was from Monday. Not the case.

Link
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
In case you were wondering, 39 tornadoes -- 17 EF0s, 16 EF1s, 3 EF2s, [no EF3s], 2 EF4s, and, of course, an EF5 -- have been confirmed from the May 18-21, 2013 tornado outbreak. The death toll is at 26, with all but 2 (which occurred in the Shawnee EF4 on Sunday) occurring during the Moore tornado. Over 240 have been injured.

Source?
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Here's that err...tropical thingy zoomed in on the 12z CMC.

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
maybe i am a little late on this comment/suggestion... there was a very bad tornado outbreak in NE Ohio/W Pennsylvania on May 31, 1985.. several people lost there lives, looots of damage done!!! i remember that day quite vivdly, as May 31 is my birthday & my grand-parents were supposed to take me out for a birthday dinner..., we ended up staying home, glued to the TV, praying it wouldnt hit near there home,(they lived on the W side of Youngatown, OH at the time...; i believe this series of storms/tornadoes caused lotsa $$$$ in damages..., anyone have any pics/video of this storm?!?! even thou I was only 14yrs old at the time of this storm, i can still remember it like it was yesterday...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

No, I'm pretty sure 4 isobars on a low are much different than 2 sickly-appearing ones. Thanks anyways though.


Whatever you say, genius.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
Quoting MississippiWx:


It was. The only difference was on your map the low is 1mb stronger. That 1mb was the obvious difference in changing his mind. ;-)

Teenagers. You think you know everything.

No, I'm pretty sure 4 isobars on a low are much different than 2 sickly-appearing ones. Thanks anyways though.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31920
Quoting MississippiWx:


It was. The only difference was on your map the low is 1mb stronger. That 1mb was the obvious difference in changing his mind. ;-)

Teenagers. You think you know everything.

We do know everything!

It definitely was the 1mb difference ;)
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Quoting bappit:

Which makes it a suspicious statistic. Why express it as feet when they only guesstimated miles?


15,840 feet sounds more precise than 3 miles ;)
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Quoting wxchaser97:

I'm pretty sure the other one was too...
Yeah, I don't exactly know why there are differences. Maybe where the get the data or how it is interpreted or something like that, idk.


It was. The only difference was on your map the low is 1mb stronger. That 1mb was the obvious difference in changing his mind. ;-)

Teenagers. You think you know everything.
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 17 Comments: 10233
268. Skyepony (Mod)
Fresh OSCAT.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:

That one I'd say is in HD so yep

I don't know, it doesn't say that there is a higher resolution GEM vs regular GEM.
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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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