Super twister: deadly Oklahoma tornado was widest on record, rare EF5 event

June 4, 2013 OKLAHOMAThe National Weather Service reported Tuesday that the killer tornado that struck near Oklahoma City last Friday was a ferocious EF5 twister, which had winds that neared 295 mph. An EF5 tornado, the highest number on the “Enhanced Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity,” is any tornado that has wind speeds of 200 mph or higher. This beats every world wind record except the more-than 300-mph reading measured during the Moore, Okla., tornado in 1999, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Jesse Ferrell. The weather service also says the twister’s 2.6-mile width is the widest ever recorded. According to the National Severe Storm Laboratory, the tornado blew up from one mile to 2.6 miles wide in a 30-second span. For perspective, Manhattan is 2.3 miles wide at its widest point near 14th street. The tornado, which carved a path 16.2 miles long near El Reno, Okla., surpasses a 2.5-mile wide F4 tornado that hit Hallam, Neb., in 2004. The Enhanced Fujita scale (with “EF” ratings) replaced the old Fujita scale (with “F” ratings) in 2007. The weather service had originally rated the tornado as an EF3. But the agency upgraded the ranking Tuesday after surveying damage and reviewing measurements from a “Doppler on Wheels” vehicle that measures wind speeds remotely. Eighteen people were killed in the tornado and flooding in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including four storm chasers. One of the chasers was pioneering scientist Tim Samaras and his son. “I have heard that Tim Samaras was deploying probes in the path of the tornado before his tragic death,” AccuWeather meteorologist Mike Smith notes on his blog. “I hope those probes can be recovered so we can learn more about this storm.” “Fastest winds were in the multiple suction vortices revolving about the parent tornado,” writes Weather Channel severe storm expert Greg Forbes on his Facebook page. “They were travelling about 185 mph as they were steered along within the parent tornado winds and had winds about their own axis of about 100 mph that added to the parent tornado’s winds.” There have only been eight F5/EF-5 tornadoes in Oklahoma since 1950, the Weather Underground reports, and two of them have hit in the past two weeks. The other hit Moore on May 20, killing 24 people. On average, over 1,000 tornadoes hit the U.S. each year, and only one might be an EF-5, reports National Climatic Data Center. – USA Today
This entry was posted in Catastrophic Insurance losses mount, Civilizations unraveling, Deluge from torrential rains, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Erratic Jet Stream, Extreme Weather Event, Gale-force winds and gusts, High-risk potential hazard zone, Infrastructure collapse, Magnetic pole migration, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration, Tornado Outbreak. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Super twister: deadly Oklahoma tornado was widest on record, rare EF5 event

  1. Scott says:

    Hurricane Sandy was the widest Hurricane ever recorded right? This is not a good trend.


  2. Irene C says:

    This was a very unusual tornado in itself. Not only was it one of the widest on record but it contained several vortexes and moved erratically. And the fact that three veteran storm chasers died really says a lot. Tim Sameras was a 25+ year storm chaser and and a pioneer in tornado forecasting. He was also one of the safest chasers out there. Another thing I find interesting is that EF4 And EF5 tornadoes are relatively rare. We’ve had several of them now in just a week or so. And then there was 2011 and the two outbreaks we had then with Joplin and Tuscaloosa. Things are definitely changing and I honestly believe they will get worse.


  3. Irene C says:

    Oh and Florida is sinking into the sea.



  4. Susan says:

    FYI, I just tried to share this on FB and it wouldn’t let me. Says that ya’ll are “spam” or some such nonsense. This must be a recent thing because I share ya’ll’s stuff all the time without problem up until today. I love your posts by the way!


    • Yes, FB problems are nearly continuous and ongoing.


    • Irene C says:

      I’m glad it wasn’t just me, Susan, that couldn’t post this one to Facebook. I even rebooted my computer thinking that was the problem, since I have an old computer. But the rest of the articles posted fine. I did report it to Facebook but I haven’t got an answer back yet.


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