A Night of Tornado Chaos in Oklahoma City: 9 Killed, 71 Injured

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:21 PM GMT on June 01, 2013

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It was a terrifying evening of tornado chaos and extreme atmospheric violence in the Oklahoma City area on Friday. Three tornadoes touched down near the city, killing nine, injuring at least 71, and causing widespread destruction. Huge hail up to baseball-sized battered portions the the metro area, accompanied by torrential flooding rains, widespread damaging straight-line winds, and lightning that flashed nearly continuously. The strongest tornado, which touched down west of Oklahoma City in El Reno, has been preliminarily rated an EF-3 with 136 - 165 mph winds. The tornado warning for the storm was issued 19 minutes before it touched down. Two other EF-3 tornadoes touched down near St. Louis, Missouri, and NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged 20 preliminary tornado reports on Friday. Tinker Air Force Base on the east side of Oklahoma City reported sustained winds of 68 mph, gusting to 88 mph, at 8:09 pm CDT. The Oklahoma City airport had sustained winds of 53 mph, gusting to 71 mph at 7:26 pm. These winds were generated by the massive and powerful downdrafts from the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the El Reno tornado. Thankfully, Friday was likely the peak day for this week's severe weather outbreak, as SPC is calling for only a "Slight Risk" of severe weather Saturday and Sunday.


Figure 1. TWC's Mike ‪Bettes‬ crew caught this image of the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado of May 31, 2013 before the tornado caught them and rolled their vehicle.



Figure 2 and 3. Radar reflectivity (top) and Doppler velocity (bottom) images of the May 31, 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado.


Figure 4. Preliminary tracks of the three tornadoes that touched done near Oklahoma City on May 31, 2013. Image credit: NWS Norman, OK.

Tornadoes and cars: a dangerous mix
A vehicle is about the worst place you can be in a tornado, as the tornado's winds can easily roll a car. (The only place less safe is probably a mobile home, as a tornado's winds can roll mobile homes almost as readily, and mobile homes don't come with seat belts and air bags.) At least five of the deaths in Friday's El Reno tornado occurred in vehicles attempting to flee. There was one local TV station that urged residents without underground shelters to get in their cars and "get south" in advance of the tornado that was approaching Oklahoma City, since chasers were reporting that the El Reno tornado may have been so strong that only an underground shelter would have provided adequate protection. This terrible piece of advice likely contributed to the incredible traffic jams that we saw on I-35, I-40, I-44, and other local roads Friday night. Thousands of cars were bumper-to-bumper on the roads as a dangerous tornado approached them. Had the El Reno tornado plowed directly down one of these car-choked interstates, the death toll could have easily exceeded 500. If you are located in a metro area and don't have an underground shelter, the best thing to do it to take shelter in an interior windowless room or hallway, with protective furniture over your body. Getting in a car and attempting to flee the tornado is the worst thing you can do in an urban area. You may not be able to see the tornado if it is dark or the tornado is wrapped in rain. You are likely to encounter hazardous winds, rain, and hail, run into unexpected traffic, or flooded or debris-blocked roads that will put you directly in the path of the tornado. Even without an underground shelter, most people will be able to survive a dangerous EF-4 tornado. Case in point: during the Mannford, Oklahoma EF-4 tornado of 1984, a packed church received a direct hit, and everyone in the church survived. The only fatality was a man who drove to the church to get his wife. (Thanks to wunderground member AGWcreationists for this link.) It's better to abandon your vehicle and take shelter in a ditch, if you are caught in a car during a tornado.


Video 1. The Weather Channel storm chasers weren't the only ones who got themselves in an extremely dangerous situation on May 31. StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright got caught in the tornado northwest of Union City, OK and slammed with debris as the tornado hit a barn that exploded in front of them.


Video 2. When the hunters became the hunted: Weather Channel storm chasers ‪Mike Bettes and two photographers were in their Tornado Hunt vehicle when they were hit by a tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31,‬ ‪2013. ‬The tornado picked their car up off the ground and rolled it 6 - 8 times before depositing it in a field 200 yards away. All the occupants were wearing seat belts and the air bags deployed, likely saving their lives. Bettes sustained minor injuries, including stitches in his hand. It was the first injury sustained by a Weather Channel personality covering violent weather, according to company spokesperson Shirley Powell.

A storm chasers' nightmare
Cars and tornadoes can prove a dangerous mix even for the world's most experienced storm chasers. Driving at high speeds though heavy rain, large hail, and high winds is hazardous. If one is lucky enough to chase down a tornado, even the most experienced chasers can find themselves in a serious life-threatening situation when unpredictable events occur. Tornadoes by their nature are unpredictable, and can change course unexpectedly, or pop up suddenly. It's particularly dangerous when a tornado is wrapped in rain, making it hard to see, or if a chaser is operating in a heavily populated area, where roads may suddenly become congested. All four of these conditions occurred Friday during the El Reno tornado, and it is very fortunate that multiple chasers were not killed. The El Reno tornado was wrapped in rain and difficult to see as it headed west towards Oklahoma City. The twister suddenly made a jog to the southeast as a Weather Channel team led by Mike Bettes was attempting to get in front of the storm, and the tornado lifted their vehicle off the ground, rolled it multiple times, and hurled it 200 yards into a nearby field. StormChasingVideo.com storm chaser Brandon Sullivan and his chase partner Brett Wright got caught in the tornado northwest of Union City, OK and slammed with debris as the tornado hit a barn that exploded in front of them. Meteorologist Emily Sutton and storm chaser Kevin Josefy of local Oklahoma City TV station KFOR also had a very close call with the El Reno tornado Friday afternoon. They got too close to the tornado, and were forced to floor the car in reverse to escape flying debris. With branches of trees crashing around them, Sutton began feeling debris hitting her back, and realized that the rear windshield of the car must have gotten destroyed. Both were uninjured. Reed Timmer's armor-plated "Dominator" chase vehicle had its hood torn off by the tornado. Wunderground member Levi32 was out storm chasing during the El Reno Tornado, and got stuck in traffic on Highway 4 and couldn't move. "We looked up above the car and saw the wall cloud over top of us, with very quick rotation and rising scud indicating the updraft. We were definitely too close. We made it home safely last night, but not until after an insanely wild day. One hour of chasing turned into six more of being chased by at least 2 tornadoes and a 3rd wall cloud, one of which was the one that went right through downtown Oklahoma City. At one point we were stuck in traffic underneath the El Rino wall cloud watching rotating, rising scud directly above the car. I am hoping and praying that the daylight does not reveal more fatalities.

Would I go again? Yes, but not today, or tomorrow, and I would take even greater care. We had no clue we would get caught the way we did. I thought we had done everything right. We were kind of freaking out for a while. That velocity signature you guys saw with radar folding and multiple vortices - we were under the southern edge of it. We never got a clear view of the tornado, but we could tell just how close it was to our north. It was unreal. The inflow got pretty strong.

We were almost ready to jump out and take cover right before we found a route south, which ended up being slow. It became a six-lane highway south as everyone panicked and drove on the wrong side of the road. Even we did so. We thought we were clear until we saw the training of tornadic supercells on radar, all connected somehow. I've never seen anything like that. My best pictures of the day were of the wall cloud that followed behind the El Reno storm. We didn't see a funnel from that one either, but it chased us south for a long time, and we heard from radio that it spawned a confirmed tornado in Tuttle, when we realized that we were in Tuttle.

A third mesocyclone showed up behind that one as we continued slowly south, eventually reaching Blanchard. It looked weaker than the others but we weren't going to escape it, so we took shelter in a storm room in the local grocery store for about an hour. It then took a long time to find a way around the huge hail cores to get back home. Lightning flashes were occurring 10 times per second as we drove home in the dark. It was almost calming to watch as we got over the semi-shock that we were all in. None of us in the car had seen a tornado before. We didn't see one yesterday, but we were chased by two."



Video 3. Birth of the El Reno wedge tornado. As the tornado touched down, it produced a rare display of suction vortices.

Video 4. Storm chasers Jeff Piotrowski and Kathryn Piotrowski captured impressive footage of a double vortex tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013.

Severe storms causing major flooding
The 5.64" of rain that fell at the Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport on Friday was their 6th wettest day in city history, and brought the total rainfall for the month of May to 14.52", the wettest May in Oklahoma City's history (Thanks to BaltimoreBrian for this link.) The North Canadian River in Oklahoma City rose sixteen feet in twelve hours, cresting at its 2nd highest flood on record this Saturday morning. The heavy rains have spread eastwards on Saturday, causing more flooding problems. Paducah, KY had its wettest June day and 3rd wettest day on record on June 1, with 5.73" of rain (all-time record: 7.49" on 9/5/1985.) Major flooding is occurring along a substantial stretch of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri.


Figure 5. The North Canadian River in Oklahoma City rose sixteen feet in twelve hours, reaching its 2nd highest flood on record this Saturday morning.


Figure 6. Radar-estimated rainfall in the Oklahoma City area reached 8+" over some areas from Friday's storm.

Remains of Hurricane Barbara may bring heavy rains to Mexico, Florida, and Cuba
Today, June 1, is the official first day of the Atlantic Hurricane season, and we already have our first Atlantic tropical disturbance to talk about. Hurricane Barbara, which died on Thursday as it attempted to cross Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec into the southernmost Gulf of Mexico, has left behind an area of disturbed weather over the southernmost Gulf of Mexico. There is very little heavy thunderstorm activity associated with Barbara's remnants apparent on satellite loops this Saturday afternoon. Wind shear is a high 20 knots in the region, and the area of disturbed weather is quite small, so I don't expect any development to occur over the next few days. NHC is giving the disturbance a 10% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by Monday. Moisture from the remnants of Barbara may combine with moisture from an area of heavy thunderstorms expected to build over the Western Caribbean this weekend, and begin bringing heavy rains to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Western Cuba on Sunday and Monday. These heavy rains may spread to Southwest Florida as early as Monday night. The computer models predict that this disturbance should be large and poorly organized, making development into a Gulf of Mexico tropical cyclone unlikely.

My next post will be Monday at the latest.

Jeff Masters

LotsOfWater... (CalicoBass)
from the heavy rains overnight, flowing over this low water bridge. We were waiting to see if something about our size drove over it okay (we were in a Toyota Pickup), this is a bit bigger than us, lol.
LotsOfWater...
Sunset Strike (mrwing13)
NE Oklahoma is under the gun, again today. Severe weather, threatens to produce more damaging storms.
Sunset Strike
tornado (modernsourdough)
near bennington, ks
tornado

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
The statistic I take from this unfortunate news is:

25 percent of the fatalities from the tornados in OK

were Storm Chasers...

3/12


Those three were all in the same vehicle, though I'm not endorsing tornado chasing.
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Quoting barbamz:
Back from some days out with my family I just had to learn about the severe weather outbreak and the deaths in the US. I'm so sorry for all who are affected.
But Germany south to my place and the adjacent countries to the East were severly damaged by catastrophic rainfall and flooding as well. Four people dead, and the threat is going on in some regions. There is a catastrophic emergency alert in some places of south-eastern Germany.
Here only two links because I feel that you're all busy with the developments in the US.



German city of Passau at the Danube River

BBC: Central Europe on alert for flooding

EuroNews Video: Flood disaster warnings in Central Europe
02/06 15:45 CET



Thank you Barb for your sympathies..
I now see Germany's flood warning are at catastrophy alert..
Euro Video shows alot of flooding..
I hope your family outing went well..
Thanks for keeping us updated..
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I can't believe it. Tim, Paul, and Carl? They were always so cautious, so hesitant to get anywhere near a regular tornado, much less a rain-wrapped tornado.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 109 Comments: 30268
Quoting daddyjames:


It'll take a lot from the "leaders" here in parts of OK.

Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma City metro-area cities oppose public storm shelters


The article ends with Moore Emergency Management Director Gayland Kitch saying:

“Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety,” Kitch said. “We provide people with information. That's what the sirens are about. How they choose to act on it is up to them.”


whats the sirens for if the shelters are not in place or accessible??..
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Quoting daddyjames:


What I find particularly callous is that the hotel would not let anyone in unless they rented a room, and if they had no money - tough luck.

Kudos to those businesses that open their doors because they have a sense of decency.

What about public shelters?
I cannot believe they are being shut down because officials say they give a false sense of security or encourage people to drive to a safe area when they are are better off staying home.
What the heck is going on in Oklahoma?
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Quoting barbamz:
Back from some days out with my family I just had to learn about the severe weather outbreak and the deaths in the US. I'm so sorry for all who are affected.
But Germany south to my place and the adjacent countries to the East were severly damaged by catastrophic rainfall and flooding as well. Four people dead, and the threat is going on in some regions. There is a catastrophic emergency alert in some places of south-eastern Germany.
Here only two links because I feel that you're all busy with the developments in the US.



German city of Passau at the Danube River

BBC: Central Europe on alert for flooding

EuroNews Video: Flood disaster warnings in Central Europe
02/06 15:45 CET



We would welcome you posting more information about what is happening in Europe, not less. We tend to be very US centric/Atlantic Tropical Activity in this blog, but all weather related information is welcome.
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Quoting ncstorm:


its got to get better..everyone doesnt have the financial means to evacuate..

some type of legislative needs to be mandated that in situations like this, people can take shelter in more reinforce places and NOT be turned away..


It'll take a lot from the "leaders" here in parts of OK.

Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma City metro-area cities oppose public storm shelters


The article ends with Moore Emergency Management Director Gayland Kitch saying:

“Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety,” Kitch said. “We provide people with information. That's what the sirens are about. How they choose to act on it is up to them.”
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Quoting Bluestorm5:
Just found out the news few minutes ago on Twitter. I still got a sick feeling to my stomach as I know Tim before his death in Oklahoma. He was on Storm Chasers on Discovery sometimes and I read his book a few months ago. To those who didn't know Tim, this guy was a true professional as he risks his like putting down probes for research. He wasn't one of those thrill seeking and extreme videos maker. He was just doing it to save other lives. May he rest in peace.

I remember seeing him on Storm Chasers as well. Its quite sad to know that he's passed on.
And its cool to see the chasers giving him a tribute by making a TS on the spotter Network in North Dakota.
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Look at the moisture stream into Florida in this loop.
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Quoting anotherwrongyear:
oh pleaseeeeeee stop it already
Quoting pcola57:


???
He's not getting any...
Quoting VR46L:


You know I am convinced that on this disturbance, the fronts that are coming down are going to have a huge effect . Not sure how, be it set it spinning or ripping it apart sending some into Texas and some to Florida at the moment it appears the WPC are going with the second solution
I was looking at that forecasted front and thinking it would just funnel that moisture up along the FL GoM coast and over into the ATL... i.e. more moisture for the same areas that got heavy rains the last 2 weeks...
Quoting ncstorm:
I dont make forecasts..no way am I qualified to do so but I will say the CMC is about to make believers out of all of yall..the CMC was the only model that saw the EPAC first storm..also out performed the GFS and Euro with the Indian Ocean twin storms..keep sleeping if you want..:)
Ppple keep missing the POINT of the CMC... it's the cyclogenesis sniff-and-point dog of the bunch... I tend to think of very strong systems portrayed in the CMC as less a marker of actual storm intensity and more a sign of confidence. If CMC is forecasting a cat 5, you can be fairly sure there's going to be a low of some kind tracking in that area. You have to check other models for accurate intensity forecasts...
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Just found out the news few minutes ago on Twitter. I still got a sick feeling to my stomach as I know Tim before his death in Oklahoma. He was on Storm Chasers on Discovery sometimes and I read his book a few months ago. To those who didn't know Tim, this guy was a true professional as he risks his life putting down probes for research. He wasn't one of those thrill seeking and extreme videos maker. He was just doing it to save other lives. May he rest in peace.
Member Since: August 1, 2011 Posts: 23 Comments: 7471
Quoting ScottLincoln:
Hard to fully put into words my thoughts on the developing situation. Samaras' feature speaker talk at the Des Moines Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference (probe data from Manchester EF4) was one of the things I remember as stirring my interest in tornadoes and severe weather meteorology. In person he gave off such a strong, repectable character vibe. He made you feel like you were doing real help for the science. My first (and so far, only) "inside a tornado" experience was on the TWISTEX team.


The tornado data that brought Tim Samaras into the spotlight:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/fsd/?n=tor2003jun24_samar as

Aerodynamically-designed probes were deployed directly in the path of an F-4 tornado near Manchester, South Dakota, on June 24th, 2003. These autonomous probes performed in-situ ground-level measurements of the free-field static pressure, temperature, and relative humidity as the tornado passed directly over the probes. A sharp pressure drop lasting about 40 seconds was observed. Of particular interest was the maximum recorded pressure drop of about 100 mbar, as well as several smaller fluctuations of notable amplitude. This paper describes the measurements made during this event and discusses the significance of the results in terms of the dynamic structure of the tornado.
https://ams.confex.com/ams/11aram22sls/techprogra m/paper_81700.htm

From one of the my more "memorable" summers involved with Tim Samaras:
As the storm approached, the crew
noted that the supercell was moving more sharply to the
right of its former course, placing them near the projected
path of the low-level mesocyclone. The crew drove south
on Highway 259, attempting to position south of the low-
level mesocyclone before it crossed the highway. With
considerable tree cover in this region hampering the vi-
sual observation of the storm's features, TWISTEX crews
could not position south of the mesocyclone on Highway
259 before the mesocyclone reached this road. Thus, the
two mobile mesonet stations, M2 and M3, had an un-
planned tornado encounter with a developing tornadic
circulation while the mesonet was traveling south on
Highway 259.

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2010M WR3201.1
Page 2582

Tim's contributions to tornado science were tough to top by other people calling themselves chasers. Others had much longer times interacting with Tim directly, but from my short stint I know his character was top notch (that goes for Carl, too).

Thanks for the memories, Tim.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Oh no! Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were all killed during the tornado that hit El Reno. These guys were apart of the TWISTEX on "stormchasers." These guys were true professionals, not your daily youtube chaser -- they were out to educate and study, not for money or the glory of it. RIP.


Link

Sad, sad news indeed. Tim was an early leader in attempting to place instrument packages directy in tormado paths. He wasn't often successful but, when he was, he recorded some truly amazing things, like a 100 millibar pressure drop in one of the tornadoes that the instruments managed to actually measure. He was not a "chaser" in the more modern definition of the term, but he did take some incredible risks over the last 30 years.

I haven't been able to find out exactly where the fatalities occured or how, but it sounds like their vehicle must have taken a direct hit from the El Reno tornado. A Channel 7 (Denver) News Story mentions that all their camera equipment is still missing and the family and authorities are searching for it. Given the delay in this story, I assume that identification was not easy to make and, without more speculation, it must have been a violent but hopefully quick death for the three people killed.

This should certainly be a sobering reminder that there's no "safe" way to chase tornadoes. If a tornado can get Tim and his crew, as well as Mike Bettes and his crew, it can surely get many of the less experienced people out there.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 9872
Quoting daddyjames:


What I find particularly callous is that the hotel would not let anyone in unless they rented a room, and if they had no money - tough luck.

Kudos to those businesses that open their doors because they have a sense of decency.


its got to get better..everyone doesnt have the financial means to evacuate..

some type of legislative needs to be mandated that in situations like this, people can take shelter in more reinforce places and NOT be turned away..
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Quoting Hurrihistory:
I think it's ironic that several years ago The Weather Channel used to Discourage people from Storm Chasing and now they encourage it by putting some of their own people in harms way and almost getting him killed in the process! What Hypocrites! They even try to hype up the story by saying that Mike Bettes chase vehicle rolled about 200-yards. Seems more like 20-yards to me. If he rolled over a distance of 200-yards he and the rest of his crew would have been killed for sure. 200-yards is the size of two football fields. Come On. With all this The Weather Channel's over-all credibility as a serious source of Weather Information has sunk to a new low. But we all knew this anyway once they put (Mr.Potato Head) Al Roker and his chatter-box side kick Stephanie Abrams on the air a few years ago. " Now remember everyone, just keep sending in your storm video and photo's here to TWC and we might even show it on the air" (And no, we will not pay you for it.)


Actually, I thought they did a good job covering the storms Friday night. Angry much?
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evacuating metro miami would be a nightmare something big coming out of the biscayne bay would cause panic
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Hey guys. Just a heads up, I've made a decision to leave this account and I made a new account using my actual name. Would rather be known around the blog with my actual identity instead this fake username, had a lot of good time tracking and had some great memories on this account but I think I'd rather move onto something offical to my name. I really want to make this my future. Though I still have things to learn? Ready to make this a full time effort to be on the blog an post.
Hope you guys agree with my choice as well.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
Back from some days out with my family I just had to learn about the severe weather outbreak and the deaths in the US. I'm so sorry for all who are affected.
But Germany south to my place and the adjacent countries to the East were severly damaged by catastrophic rainfall and flooding as well. Four people dead, and the threat is going on in some regions. There is a catastrophic emergency alert in some places of south-eastern Germany.
Here only two links because I feel that you're all busy with the developments in the US.



German city of Passau at the Danube River

BBC: Central Europe on alert for flooding

EuroNews Video: Flood disaster warnings in Central Europe
02/06 15:45 CET

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Quoting ncstorm:


At Will Rogers World Airport, 2,000 people spent the night sheltering in underground tunnels, reports News 9.



What I find particularly callous is that the hotel would not let anyone in unless they rented a room, and if they had no money - tough luck.

Kudos to those businesses that open their doors because they have a sense of decency.
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Excerpt from the storm I posted earlier..

Amy Williamson, who lives just off I-40 in the western Oklahoma City suburb of Yukon, said when she heard the tornado was heading towards her home, she put her children, baby sitter and cats in her car and drove away.

'I'm a seasoned tornado watcher ... but I just could not see staying and waiting for it to hit,' she said.

The family sheltered from the storm in a hospital parking garage.

A 51-year-old teacher's assistant who also tried to run from the storm said she quickly regretted her decision, after becoming stuck in traffic in the path of the tornado.

'It was chaos ... Everybody was running for their lives,' Terri Black, who lives in Moore, said.

'My car was actually lifted off the road and then set back down,' Ms Black said. 'The trees were leaning literally to the ground. The rain was coming down horizontally in front of my car. Big blue trash cans were being tossed around like a piece of paper in the wind. I'll never do it again.'

Though the state's transportation authorities strongly advised citizens not to drive, some interstate highways in Oklahoma were jammed with stalled traffic, as heavy rains drenched roadways and flooded low-lying areas.

Officials described parts of Interstates 35 and 40 near Oklahoma City as 'a parking lot.'

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hmm look like low forming in the GOH originally I though I saw a spin on NE tip of yucatan but now its look to have well flatlined out now thinking about it it truly does look like a flat line it still shas a very very slight rotation but looks more like a trof now
now in the GOH there seem to be a bigger rotation looking at the clouds around it its rotating and it seems centered around the GOH
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Quoting daddyjames:
Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma City metro-area cities oppose public storm shelters

Absolutely amazing accounts of what people had to do to get shelter from the most recent storm.

Background information: MidWest City Commission voted January 2013 to close all public shelters. Apparently they have not done a good job of communicating that to the public.

Some selected tidbits:

"With a killer tornado on the ground in Moore and headed toward Midwest City, Marie Foster and about 40 others sought shelter at the Reed Center and its adjoining hotel May 20.
Foster was shocked to see frightened people turned away from what was once a public storm shelter. . . .

“There were children standing there, scared,” she said. “It was pouring down rain and hail. People were terrified and asking to come inside. The police officers told them they needed to move on. You are on your own.”"

"Many of those denied entry into the Reed Center had pulled off Interstate 40 after hearing reports on the radio telling them to get off the highway and find shelter at the nearest sturdy building."

"Foster and her husband were allowed into the hotel connected to the Reed Center when they agreed to rent a room. Those who didn't have the money were not."

Yeah, OK comes together after something happens, but while its happening - you are on your own.

This was during the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore on May 20th.


At Will Rogers World Airport, 2,000 people spent the night sheltering in underground tunnels, reports News 9.

Fifty people took shelter in the freezer at a Sinclair gas station in south Oklahoma City. In the freezer some people were freaking out and crying, while some comforted others and few told jokes, revealed Beverly Allam, 57.

When she emerged from the freezer her car windshield had been shattered by the hail. On her way home after the worst had passed 'the roads were like rivers,' she said.

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Oklahoma tornadoes: Oklahoma City metro-area cities oppose public storm shelters

Absolutely amazing accounts of what people had to do to get shelter from the May 20th EF-5 Tornado in Moore.

Background information: MidWest City Commission voted January 2013 to close all public shelters. Apparently they have not done a good job of communicating that to the public.

Some selected tidbits:

"With a killer tornado on the ground in Moore and headed toward Midwest City, Marie Foster and about 40 others sought shelter at the Reed Center and its adjoining hotel May 20.
Foster was shocked to see frightened people turned away from what was once a public storm shelter. . . .

"There were children standing there, scared," she said. "It was pouring down rain and hail. People were terrified and asking to come inside. The police officers told them they needed to move on. You are on your own.""

"Many of those denied entry into the Reed Center had pulled off Interstate 40 after hearing reports on the radio telling them to get off the highway and find shelter at the nearest sturdy building."

"Foster and her husband were allowed into the hotel connected to the Reed Center when they agreed to rent a room. Those who didn't have the money were not."

Yeah, OK comes together after something happens, but while its happening - you are on your own.

Corrected to reflect that this is what occurred during the EF-5 tornado that hit Moore on May 20th.
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I think it's ironic that several years ago The Weather Channel used to Discourage people from Storm Chasing and now they encourage it by putting some of their own people in harms way and almost getting him killed in the process! What Hypocrites! They even try to hype up the story by saying that Mike Bettes chase vehicle rolled about 200-yards. Seems more like 20-yards to me. If he rolled over a distance of 200-yards he and the rest of his crew would have been killed for sure. 200-yards is the size of two football fields. Come On. With all this The Weather Channel's over-all credibility as a serious source of Weather Information has sunk to a new low. But we all knew this anyway once they put (Mr.Potato Head) Al Roker and his chatter-box side kick Stephanie Abrams on the air a few years ago. " Now remember everyone, just keep sending in your storm video and photo's here to TWC and we might even show it on the air" (And no, we will not pay you for it.)
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Quoting Ricki13th:
Here is the current upper level winds. Shear is falling over the Yucatan channel

It seem the system is trying to pull on an upper level ridge over the Yucatan and Mexico.

The whole situation is dependent on that anticyclone, moving away to the west, and allowing the shear to relax.
Member Since: October 3, 2010 Posts: 40 Comments: 4129
GFS has the moisture tracking ahead of the low pressure.

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Tribute...

This is now:

http://www.spotternetwork.org/google.php
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Quoting SFLWeatherman:

Link


Interesting the GFS has the heavy bands of upper level lifting north leaving the Southeastern Gulf under 20 knots. By Wednesday. Which will be about the time its predicted the form. However, shear forcast is extremely unpredictable.
Quoting SFLWeatherman:
rotation over the tip of the Yucatan





Noticing convection is waning over the the Gulf and is refiring over the Yucatan channel might be trying to concentrate where conditions is a bit more favorable and where a supposed low is trying to form if this trend continues the chances may get bump up to 20% by 2pm.
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I do not see it being in the Bay of Campeche
Quoting AussieStorm:
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Morning all. WE are getting showers here again this morning.



So much for the fabled clearing... looks like continued showers off and on for the next 5 days, if this low pressure area hangs around the Yucatan area. Seems the shear is fetching the storm activity off towards the NW...

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america has its own kind of martyrs big waves surfers. racers and dont forget the storm junkies get the umbrella ready
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12Z GFS coming out now at 9HR
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Quoting ncstorm:
has there ever been a storm chaser get killed while chasing a hurricane?


But there have been close calls, and it only is a matter of time . . . unfortunately.
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rotation over the tip of the Yucatan



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Quoting daddyjames:


Not sure if that includes two deaths from the flooding - one a little girl swept away when family took cover in a ditch, the other a man swept away by flood waters on his way to work.


Update: And another woman discovered from flooding.

The rescue workers are still searching houses that were flooded and surveying rivers, as accessing some of the flooded ares has been difficult.

Recent Story
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12Z NAM @ 18Z 6/5/13


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Link
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Good morning/afternoon/evening, everyone

Interesting pictures on this site:

Link

A NOAA weather buoy got loose and travelled a "few" miles before being found.

Lindy
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573. JRRP
,
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Quoting hydrus:
The only thing that comes to mind is the 1955 recon flight into Hurricane Janet..Not anyone on land as far as I know.


Also the Typhoon in the WPAC that took a crew, I think Dr Masters did a blog on that about 2yrs ago.
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Anyways, I'm working on a video update now (new channel).
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Quoting AussieStorm:
Confirmation



Truly truly sad news.
Tim Samaras, a leader in tornado science, was about saving lives than getting the "money shot".
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Quoting ncstorm:
has there ever been a storm chaser get killed while chasing a hurricane?


A crew of hurricane hunters lost their lives in a hurricane a long time ago. Dr. Masters actually had an engine fire into Hurricane Hugo.
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Quoting AussieStorm:

The news here tonight said 14 people had died from the Tornado. Not sure if it's 100% right since we are so far away.


Not sure if that includes two deaths from the flooding - one a little girl swept away when family took cover in a ditch, the other a man swept away by flood waters on his way to work.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.