This is a bit of a tough post to make after watching everything yesterday leading up to the tornado and then watching the tornado itself form just southwest of Oklahoma City.
By the time the storm reached Moore, Okla., the storm was an absolute monster. The tornado was up to a mile wide and the winds were possibly up to 200 mph, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service.
Unfortunately this storm has taken 24 lives so far (at least not the 91 reported by some outlets earlier today) and just looking at the damage I would imagine there still may be more found today.
- Similar tracks of the 1999 and 2013 Moore Tornadoes
Here is a look at the path of this tornado compared to the one that struck the same area on May 3, 1999, which was also classified as a F-5 (Before the EF scale was used) and had winds recorded at nearly 300 mph from a nearby Doppler on Wheels.
It's crazy how these two storms paralleled one another before crossing paths with nearly the same strength 14 years apart.
- Comparison of the 1999, 2003 and 2013 Tornado Tracks (Credit: Weather Decision Technologies)
Another view of the track compared to the 1999 tornado as well as the 2003 F-4 tornado shows just how violent tornadoes have been in that area over the past 14 years.
- Reflectivity image as the tornado moved into Moore. Note the giant debris ball which is the pink circle entering Moore.
Above is what I was looking at as this storm was at its height. This is the reflectivity image from the Oklahoma City radar located just southeast of the storm.
If you take a look at the image you will note the big pink to purple circle on the radar image heading into Moore. When I saw this, I was terrified, because that is actually debris suspended in the air that the Doppler is seeing. You can clearly see the classic "hook echo" to the storm, but it's that debris signature that gives you an idea of just how strong this thing was.
- Velocity image from the ktlx Doppler radar east of Moore
Above is a look at the velocity image, which shows winds going towards the radar in green and blue and winds going away from the radar in red. This is definitely one of the strongest velocity couplets I've seen through my radarscope app. This is showing winds in excess of 150 mph and possibly up to 200 mph which would be in an EF-4 range.
It's just unbelievable strength and power in this storm, and something that you most likely will not make it through unless you are underground or in a storm shelter.
Here are a few videos I've seen from YouTube of the tornado.
The storm threat isn't done yet. There is still a moderate risk for severe storms today stretching through Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas and a slight risk through much of the Midwest. Be sure to heed warnings and be ready for severe weather again this afternoon.
- Severe Storm Threat Today