Share

Moore Tornado: More Lives Saved by Forecast

Jon Erdman
Published: May 24, 2013

Tornado Churns Through Moore:  3:14 p.m.

About 3:14 p.m., the tornado then entered the city of Moore, Okla., inflicting heavy damage and claiming two dozen lives.

It was estimated approximately 1,200 homes in Oklahoma City and Moore were affected by the tornado.  Preliminary estimates suggest this single tornado may have inflicted over $2 billion in total damage.

(MORE:  Costliest tornado? | Interactive damage map | Long tornado history)

Again, the death toll could have been much higher.  Almost two years prior to the day, an EF5 tornado tore a swath through Joplin, Mo., claiming 158 lives in the deadliest single U.S. tornado since 1947.

While meteorology clearly cannot pinpoint a massive, violent tornado will affect any given city or town before it's either spotted or there are indications on radar, let's recap the lead times presented here:

  • One to four days prior:  Word "outbreak" mentioned; elevated tornado threat forecast
  • Morning of the event: Peak tornado threat area, timing highlighted
  • 95 minutes before tornado first touched down:  First tornado watch issued
  • 33 minutes before tornado first touched down:  First severe t-storm warning issued
  • 5 minutes before tornado first touched down:  First tornado warning issued
  • 23 minutes before tornado hits Warren Theater, Moore Med. Center:  Tornado emergency issued.

The low death toll for such a violent tornado is a testament to the excellent work of the NWS office in Norman, Okla. (Rick Smith is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist, there), media partners and the emergency management community.  

As overwhelmingly proven with recent disasters such as the April 2011 Superoutbreak and Superstorm Sandy, an investment in the National Weather Service saves lives.  

By staying informed, you can buy yourself additional time to take action when dangerous weather approaches.  Download The Weather Channel app for your smartphone or tablet.  Follow The Weather Channel on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  

Follow Jonathan: Google+ | Twitter

MORE:  Photos from May 19-20 Tornadoes  

A tornado moves past homes in Moore, Okla. on Monday, May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

  • Moore, Okla.
  • Moore, Okla.: 1999 and 2013
  • Near Shawnee, Okla.
  • Near Shawnee, Okla.
  • Near Shawnee, Okla.
  • Edmond, Okla.
  • Dale, Okla.
  • Dale, Okla.
  • Dale, Okla.
  • Edmond, Okla.
  • Edmond, Okla.

Featured Blogs

Little Change to 93L

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 30, 2014

An area of disturbed weather located near 9°N, 45°W at 8 am EDT Wednesday, about 1150 miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands (93L), has the potential to develop into a tropical depression by Thursday, but is struggling with high wind shear today. Visible satellite loops on Wednesday morning showed 93L had a well-defined surface circulation and some low-level spiral bands. However, infrared satellite images showed heavy thunderstorm activity was very limited, and the storm is fighting high wind shear of about 20 knots.

Rare Coastal California Lightning Storm Kills One and Injures 12

By Christopher C. Burt
July 29, 2014

A freak thunderstorm quickly developed off the Pacific coastline near Los Angeles Sunday afternoon and moved onshore at popular Venice Beach in Los Angeles County. Frequent lightning strikes killed one man and injured a dozen others. This may be the only time that a summertime beach lightning fatality has occurred in California history.

Live Blog: Tracking Hurricane Arthur as it Approaches North Carolina Coast

By Shaun Tanner
July 3, 2014

This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.

Tropical Terminology

By Stu Ostro
June 30, 2014

Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.