The 2013 Moore Oklahoma Tornado – a synopsis

By Paul Homewood

Moore_OK_2013_Tornado_track

I have deliberately held off running this post for a day or two, partly because I felt it inappropriate to do so earlier, and also because I wanted to wait until the facts became clearer.

NWS have now officially declared the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday as an EF-5, the highest category, which is given when wind speeds are estimated to be over 200 mph. The current estimate for this tornado is 200-210 mph.

Latest estimates are that 24 people have died, although this figure may rise.

NOAA’s Environmental Visualisation Laboratory gave an ominous warning, earlier that day, of what was to come :-

Converging Air Masses Makes for a Rough Day in the Central Plains

May 20, 2013

Converging Air Masses Makes for a Rough Day in the Central Plains

Cold, dry air sweeping down from Canada mixing with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean are merging in the U.S. Plains today, creating conditions for some very turbulent weather. A tornado outbreak today in the early morning hours caused destruction in Kansas and Oklahoma. This image shows the air temperature at 40,000 Pascals (about 23,000 feet high in the atmosphere) using data outputs from the NOAA North America Model for 2100z on May 20, 2013, combined with an overlay of the winds at the same elevation. Tornadoes typically occur at the convergence of these two different air masses. A distinct boundary of “cold meeting warm” is visible in this temperature data, extending from Texas into Illinois.

http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/MediaDetail2.php?MediaID=1349&MediaTypeID=1

Unfortunately, EF-5 tornadoes occur only too frequently. This latest is the 59th recorded since 1950, so on average about one every year.

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/f5torns.html

The full list is in Appendix A, but Figure 1 shows that these strongest tornadoes were more common in the colder climate of 1950-80.

image

Figure 1

Many tornadoes, of course, pass through relatively empty farmland, and don’t lead to the damage and loss of life that this one did. Nevertheless, there have been 27 tornadoes since 1970 that have caused more than 20 fatalities, so, on average, it is, unfortunately, the sort of tragedy we can expect to see nearly every year.

I cannot finish without saying how utterly disgusted I am by those who have chosen to make political capital out of human suffering, such as Senator Boxer. What they have done is pure evil. She and the rest should be ashamed of themselves.

APPENDIX A – F5/EF5 TORNADOES SINCE 1950

=================================================
NUMBER	DATE                    LOCATION
======	=====================   ===========================

59	May 20, 2013		Moore OK
58	May 24, 2011		El Reno/Piedmont OK
57	May 22, 2011		Joplin MO
56	April 27, 2011		Rainsville/Sylvania AL
55	April 27, 2011		Preston MS
54	April 27, 2011		Hackleburg/Phil Campbell AL
53	April 27, 2011		Smithville MS
52	May 25, 2008		Parkersburg IA
51      May 4, 2007             Greensburg KS
50	May 3, 1999             Bridge Creek/Moore OK
49	April 16, 1998          Waynesboro TN
48	April 8, 1998           Oak Grove/Pleasant Grove AL
47	May 27, 1997            Jarrell TX
46	July 18, 1996           Oakfield WI
45	June 16, 1992           Chandler MN
44	April 26, 1991          Andover KS
43	August 28, 1990         Plainfield IL
42	March 13, 1990          Goessel KS
41	March 13, 1990          Hesston KS
40	May 31, 1985            Niles OH
39	June 7, 1984            Barneveld WI
38	April 2, 1982           Broken Bow OK
37	April 4, 1977           Birmingham AL
36	June 13, 1976           Jordan IA
35	April 19, 1976          Brownwood TX
34	March 26, 1976          Spiro OK
33	April 3, 1974           Guin AL 
32	April 3, 1974           Tanner AL 
31	April 3, 1974           Mt. Hope AL 
30	April 3, 1974           Sayler Park OH 
29	April 3, 1974           Brandenburg KY 
28	April 3, 1974           Xenia OH  
27	April 3, 1974           Daisy Hill IN  
26	May 6, 1973             Valley Mills TX
25	February 21, 1971       Delhi LA
24	May 11, 1970            Lubbock TX
23	June 13, 1968           Tracy MN
22	May 15, 1968            Maynard IA
21	May 15, 1968            Charles City IA
20	April 23, 1968          Gallipolis OH
19	October 14, 1966        Belmond IA
18	June 8, 1966            Topeka KS
17	March 3, 1966           Jackson MS
16	May 8, 1965             Gregory SD
15	May 5, 1964             Bradshaw NE
14	April 3, 1964           Wichita Falls TX
13	May 5, 1960             Prague OK
12	June 4, 1958            Menomonie WI
11	December 18, 1957       Murphysboro IL
10	June 20, 1957           Fargo ND
9	May 20, 1957            Ruskin Heights MO
8	April 3, 1956           Grand Rapids MI
7	May 25, 1955            Udall KS
6	May 25, 1955            Blackwell OK
5	December 5, 1953        Vicksburg MS
4	June 27, 1953           Adair IA
3	June 8, 1953            Flint MI
2	May 29, 1953            Ft. Rice ND
1	May 11, 1953            Waco TX
============================================================
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81 thoughts on “The 2013 Moore Oklahoma Tornado – a synopsis

  1. I have two slightly different versions of what happens in Tornado Alley

    First, warm moist air from the Gulf meets cold dry air coming down from Canada

    Second warm moist air from the Gulf meets Dry air coming over the Rockies from Colorado and cold air coming down from Canada.

    Or can it be either one?

  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/22/oklahoma-tornado-end-world-ledonna-cobb

    Oklahoma tornado: the end of a world is in Ledonna Cobb’s eyes
    This picture of ordinary people surviving catastrophe calls out as a warning of strange, terrible things happening to planet Earth

    Bold added: “This picture, if you don’t know the context, looks like the end of the world. Martians might have wiped out half of humanity, or the Gulf stream gone into overdrive (perhaps it has…).

    “It calls out as a warning, another one, about the strange things happening to planet Earth. Like survivors on the road out of Pompeii, the people in this picture have just seen a force that makes human effort pitiable, and this knowledge is in their eyes.”

    Take note, human effort is so pitiable, we can defeat climate change with windmills and curly light bulbs. Our efforts are indeed so completely pitiful, we have brought the entire planet to the very cusp of an irrevocable runaway transformation to a Venusian hothouse.

    ===

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/21/moore-oklahoma-tornado-climate-change

    Oklahoma tornado: is climate change to blame?
    The Oklahoma twister was a ‘classic look’, but the data shows we are experiencing more volatility in the US tornado season

    Photo caption: “The six least active and four most active tornado seasons have been felt over the past decade – which could show the influence of climate change.”

    Text, bold added: “Global climate change and politics are linked to each other – for better or worse. No clearer was that the case than when Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island gave an impassioned speech on global warming in the aftermath of Monday’s deadly Oklahoma tornado, and the conservative media ripped him. Whitehouse implied that at least part of the blame for the deadly tornado should be laid at the feet of climate change.”

    Good news, WUWT is now officially “conservative media”!

    (attempts at meteorological explanations)

    “The overall result could very well be fewer days of tornadoes per Harold Brooks of the National Storm Center, but more and stronger tornadoes when they do occur. Nothing about the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, or tornadoes over the past few decades break with this theory.”

    Fewer days of tornadoes, but more and stronger tornadoes? Didn’t they just sort of say that about “snow events”? Fewer tornado days and less total snow, but there will be more tornadoes per day and snow inches per event, with more extreme tornadoes and snowstorms?

  3. Here goes:
    How about a warning that says watch the sky (for an F3) general forecast, as opposed to an F4/5 outlook that warns survivability is limited to bunkers.
    Take the day off, everybody. Stay close to your “bunker”.
    If that prediction can’t be made, there is still work to do.

    Whole cities in the Midwest/Northeast have been shut down before or during blizzards, why not do the same ?

  4. Moore was a tragedy – happily not as bad as feared, when 90+ deaths had been indicated, but bad enough – and every unnecessary death is a human tragedy.
    Weather happens – even, erratically, erratic weather.
    We get weather in the UK [happily nothing like the Moore tornado], even if our Met Office [true believers to a person] considers it all Advanced Anthropogenic Climate Disruption: forgive me if I don’t have this hour’s buzz-phrase to hand.
    The Climate – changes.
    Weather – varies [in the UK, for sure!].
    Do we humans affect it?
    Locally [UHI, say] for sure.
    Grossly – planet-wide – possibly a very little.
    Adaptation is easier and cheaper – for the biome and for H. sapiens, and London and NYC etc. – than the absurd ‘prevention policies’ of a few widely-quoted souls desperate to suck a little longer on the public teat.
    Are we facing a gradual decline in global temperatures? I hope not, but I fear that’s the way to bet.
    Insulation anyone?
    Quadruple glazing [helps keep sound out, too]?

    Auto

  5. Making cheap political quips about a regularly occurring natural phenomenon, which unfortunately went through a population centre, is beyond contempt.

    Senator Boxer surrounds herself in smug self-righteousness and bad science – classic alarmism at work.

  6. Eyeballing that F5 graph, it would appear, even with the 2011 outlier, that F5 tornados are on the deacreas. Good thing too, wouldn’t want more of these nasty stormes.

  7. Those who take any unusual weather phenomena as evidence of CAGW would laugh with derision at those who don’t believe in the moon landing. Pot calling the kettle black.

  8. Todd says May 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I have two slightly different versions of what happens in Tornado Alley

    First, warm moist air from the Gulf meets cold dry air coming down from Canada

    Second warm moist air from the Gulf meets Dry air coming over the Rockies from Colorado and cold air coming down from Canada. …

    What? Nothing about the ‘cap’ being violently broken? The position of the jet stream being in just the right place?

    (I suppose thinking that deeply is only for wx geeks …)

    .

  9. What is amazing is how the F-5’s cluster by day.
    1974 had seven F-5’s — All on April 3.

    These are the only years where there were three or more DAYS of F-5 activity.
    2011, 1976, 1968, 1966, 1957, 1953 [five days]
    There is quite a gap between 1976 and 2011.
    Is this a category drift? Is it harder to get classified F-5 now than in the 1950-1980 time frame?

  10. If you wanted to point the finger at climatic factors, the lingering cold in the north (as evidenced by the late nenana breakup) is a better culprit. When the north stays cold late into the season while the south experiences warm spring weather you have the kind of extreme temperature differences that lead to big weather.

  11. @u.k.(us) at 1:59 pm

    How about a warning … an F4/5 outlook that warns survivability is limited to bunkers.
    Take the day off, everybody. Stay close to your “bunker”.
    If that prediction can’t be made, there is still work to do.

    The prediction can be made. Whether it is right is the trick.
    The ratio (False Positives / True Positives), for even a 4 hr notice, on a per capita basis, would be very high.

    “Snow days” are area wide phenomena. So are Hurricane days. You can use a broad brush.
    F4/F5 impacts are limited to a few square miles out of tens of thousands — 0.01% of the watch area. Certainly keep an eye and ear out for trouble. Be ready to go home or to bunkers on 2 hours notice.

    But a “Tornado Day”? Would it even save lives? Why should people be nearer shelter at home rather than at work or school?

  12. Dear Moderators,
    Can you convert that first image to a static one on the WordPress server? It’s doing strange things on the reloading, taking forever. Maybe NOAA doesn’t like the bandwidth stealing (grin).

  13. Stephen Rasey says:

    May 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm
    “The ratio (False Positives / True Positives), for even a 4 hr notice, on a per capita basis, would be very high.”
    =======
    Nobody watches the sky anymore, they have real-time radar/warnings.
    Yet, they won’t go under ground.
    It is the only “safe” place to be during an F5.

  14. TOO good not to post … Riding out the Joplin
    Missouri tornado in a house 5-22-2011:

    !! WARNING !! Strong language after the 4:15 point (after tornado ‘ends’)!

    When I listen and listen again, I still can’t imagine what might be going through those poor people’s minds at the height of the noise …

    .

  15. u.k.(us) says May 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Here goes:
    How about a warning that says watch the sky (for an F3) general forecast, as opposed to an F4/5 outlook that warns survivability is limited to bunkers.

    If you get good at predicting the occurrence or ‘odds’ for that kind of thing, we have to talk about the Lotto and the Powerball lottery and even ‘horse racing’ and stock market ‘picks’ …

    BTW, it’s not so much ‘watching the sky’ as it is ‘watching’ the SW quadrant of a supercell thunderstorm, either visually or with RADAR. These tornadoes had very evident and obvious debris balls showing on RADAR … and dual polarity was not necessary; KOCO TV in OKC with their own weather RADAR doing back and forth ‘sector scans’ of the tornadic T-storm showed the hook and debris ball QUITE well.

    .

  16. Looking at the list brought to mind the Flint Michigan tornado of June 8 1953. What is not usually known is that this storm system caused an F4 tornado the next day in Worcester, Massachusetts, resulting in 94 deaths The reason I remember this is because I was living in Michigan at the time and all my relatives on my father’s side lived in and around Worcester. And if you look at the record, the system spawned 46 tornadoes over a 3 day period and caused 247 deaths;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint%E2%80%93Worcester_tornado_outbreak_sequence

    Around that time I remember spending hours in the basement because of frequent tornado warnings in Adrian Michigan. We traveled to Worcester a week later and were amazed at all the damage we saw. Luckily, none of my relatives were killed or injured. This list just brought back vivid memories from 1953 when I was 10 years old.

  17. This is a bad scenario. We now have an Omega block, and a persistent very cold trough in the Easternmost Pacific. It is very late in the season for this, normally the Pacific High would be asserting itself. In any case, “Yukon Express” type systems get caught in the flow, wheel down along the Pacific Coast, then exist stage left and on to the Southern Plains. Guess what? A very robust system, actually a proper Gulf of Alaska one, is prog’ed for the latter portion of Memorial Day Weekend. If that hits the Plains, watch out!

  18. Yes, Barbara Boxer is disgusting. No more disgusting, though, than those who voted for her. They are the real culprits.

    Drop the fawning phraseology about “American people.” Half of “American people” are Obama voters: immoral individuals who value their subsidies, handouts, and perverted notions of “fairness” more than their liberty and independence.

    When tyranny shall come, it will be the “common folk who just wanted fairness,” not politicians, who’d have done it to us.

  19. _Jim says:

    May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    =====
    The Met’s did good.
    Now let’s ring every cell-phone in the region with the warning.

  20. Nobody watches the sky anymore, they have real-time radar/warnings.
    Yet, they won’t go under ground.
    It is the only “safe” place to be during an F5.

    People do go underground.
    “Seven children died at Plaza Towers Elementary School, some of them drowning after a pipe burst in the basement where they hid.(USA Today.) Confirmed by CNN.

    The death toll in Moore, OK is still only 24. out of 10,000 people affected and 2400 homes damaged. (CNN). Safe rooms are used and they work. There are just no guarantees.

  21. Stephen Rasey says:

    May 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    ======
    Your stories and links, are bullshit.

  22. The reports I have heard said the residents had 16 minute advanced warning. Not much time, but apparently much better than in the past. And that may have led to a smaller loss of life. Which is heartening to hear. At least there are some still doing real science.

    But it is not in Congress. We have let ourselves be ruled by a group of ghouls. And boxer is the king.

  23. Stephen Rasey says:
    May 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm
    ________________
    Stephen,
    I live here in the OKC metro area and was guilty of posting the same mistaken info earlier today. For that, I profusely apologize to the bereaved families in Oklahoma and the readers of WUWT.

    The cause of loss of six of the children who perished at Plaza Towers Elementary School was misreported, but now corrected. The State Medical Examiner has listed them differently, now.
    God bless the families and friends of all those who perished and all members of the community are suffering mightily from grief.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2-infants-among-10-children-killed-in-okla-tornado-state-positively-identifies-23-of-24-dead/2013/05/22/52379098-c2f6-11e2-9642-a56177f1cdf7_story.html

    The EF5 tornado also made a direct hit on Briarwood Elementary School, but all there survived, as did children at a private elementary school, also destroyed.

    There were some number of strong tornadoes the day before, May 19 which produced significant damage to several small communities around the greater Oklahoma metropolis and two men perished during an EF4 near Shawnee. Our thoughts and prayers are with those family and friends so sorely affected, as well.

  24. Whole cities in the Midwest/Northeast have been shut down before or during blizzards, why not do the same ?

    Mostly because it would be the worst thing to do short of no warning at all. One of the biggest challenges in emergency management is to warn when it is appropriate (ie the outcome is likely, and protective actions are useful) and to avoid over warning (crying wolf) at every strange sound in the night. The public very quickly suffers warning fatigue if you warn too often and nothing happens, which as pointed out above will be the case for 99.99% of the population in the warning areas. As a result one or both of the following will happen:

    The public will start to ignore all warnings
    and or
    The public will become very angry for the costs and dislocations caused by fruitless warnings.

    Major storm warning such as blizzard warnings involve some very real financial impacts to the public in the form of lost wages, lost sales as people lock down, extra expenditures (buying extra food and batteries, etc.) As short sighted as it is, this can literally lead to the destruction of the agency responsible for the warnings if false warnings happen too often. People will put so much pressure on the elected officials that they either shut down or strangle the agency that is causing the false warnings.

    We see this in avalanche warnings in the mountains, they only put up high avalanche risk warnings for about 3 days, and even though the conditions still exist they will pull down the warning briefly so they can re-issue the warning again just before the weekend so it gets fresh coverage on the news and people will notice the announcement as they plan their weekend activities.

    It sounds good from a pragmatic point of view but in a real world of real people over warning is very bad and can cost a lot of both money and lives in the long run.

    Last is that such a warning is physically impossible as the technology simply does not exist yet to predict if a specific storm will generate a strong EF4-EF5 tornado on any given day at any given location. The best we can do is a general warning for an area and then a few minutes warning once the actual circulation begins in the cloud that will eventually form the tornado (maybe).

  25. philjourdan says May 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    The reports I have heard said the residents had 16 minute advanced warning.

    Can you please state the ‘benchmark’, Phil, in regards to making this claim?

    -First signs of convection taking place (white, puffy cumulus building along the dryline)?
    -First T-storm to occur that afternoon? (it would be assumed that ANYTHING appearing would go to severe levels in a SHORT period of time given conditions, the ‘cap’ etc.)
    -First appearance of a wall cloud (this is your lowered cloud ‘base’ in the SW quadrant that will exhibit rotation prior to ‘dropping a funnel’)?
    -First appearance of a funnel?
    -First appearance of a funnel with a debris (dust etc) kicked up on the ground?
    -First appearance of a tornado (a ‘funnel’ all the way to the ground; should also be exhibiting a debris ‘cloud’ as well)?
    -First appearance of a the stove-pipe shaped tornado (lotsa debris now)?
    -First appearance of a (low to the ground ‘grinder’) wedge-shaped tornado (F3 to F5 at this stage)?

    Bear this in mind, Phil there were MANY sets of trained eyes watching the skies and various instruments that morning into afternoon, along with multiple radiosonde (met balloons) ‘soundings’ sampling the air mass from ground level up to 50 – 60, 000 ft from which Skew-T diagrams (showing winds, dew points, how much ‘cap’ remained, etc) allowing a trained met to make solid ‘judgement calls’ as to how explosive the situation would be …

    And some of those eye-sets were in several different helicopters owned by the TV stations as well, bringing back live imagery for the mets in the studio to observe and interspersed with RADAR imagery overlaid with street-detail-level position. This was a well-observed event by many trained observers and mets as well …

    .

  26. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says May 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Last is that such a warning is physically impossible as the technology simply does not exist yet to predict if a specific storm will generate a strong EF4-EF5 tornado on any given day at any given location. The best we can do is a general warning for an area and then a few minutes warning once the actual circulation begins in the cloud that will eventually form the tornado (maybe).

    Some of this is applicable to (can I use the term?) milder tornadoes occurring from T-storm cells embedded in squall lines where the interaction of winds and supercell growth are a little harder to ascertain, observe and predict, but the *storms* both in OK on Sunday (most ppl have ignored or are unaware of the tornado events on Sunday incl the Shanwee/Edmond tornado) and Monday were individual supercells which developed alone and went tornadic within half an hour (give or take) of T-storm genesis … it was simply then a matter of observing these for the usual signs (wall cloud in the SW quadrant).

    Anybody who bothered to tune in KOCO or KFOR on the internet had an arm-chair view of the blow-by-blow ‘happenings’ (complete with almost-full-motion video from spotter’s ‘chase’ cars and good video from the choppers!) from the first wall-cloud formation through to the dissipation of Monday’s EF5 twister via an unexpected transition to the ‘rope’ stage before simply ceasing to exist.

    Had these simply ‘sprung’ up from mild, afternoon thundershowers, I would have had to agree with you, but, Larry, such was not the case.

    .

  27. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    May 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm
    _____________
    No lie.
    There’s one of those obnoxious warning sirens within two blocks of my home and you don’t want to be outside when they pull the trigger on it, which they do, with every event anywhere in the Metro, which might be for a storm 30 miles away and headed for Kansas. They save lives, but they need to re- think when they blow that damned horn… the “boy who cried wolf” comes to mind.

    _Jim says:
    May 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm
    _____________
    The whole thing happened really fast- something like bluesky to final lift in 45 minutes.

  28. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    May 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm
    =====
    Nice comment.
    I’m 50 years old, been there done that, I’ve heard all the stories.
    Just a bit miffed, at the current direction of things, so don’t take it personal.

  29. _Jim says:
    May 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm
    ________________
    You’ve had some very insightful things to say and it’s really appreciated. It’s likely that there are also other people from the metro running through these threads just trying to make sense of it all- needing to talk our way out of our sorrow.

  30. You keep safe, Luther Wu. All the above calm, cool, post-disaster analysis is useful (and also a way to cope with such a terrible tragedy), but your tender heart comes shining through. You were the first blogger on WUWT (during the Nenana ice classic thread discussion, I believe) who looked out the window of our little WUWT world and cried out, “Oh, … [a terrible thing is happening. Everyone, stop and look!]… .”

    I’m so glad you are in the world!

  31. According to map, 22 square mile affected.. Not to minimalise it , but how darn unlucky do you have to be to be in its path. Just very unfortunate that it hit a major urban area.

    Condolences to all who have suffered

  32. “It’s likely that there are also other people from the metro running through these threads just trying to make sense of it all- needing to talk our way out of our sorrow.” [Luther Wu of Oklahoma City]

    Then, I’d like to say that I am praying for you all. You will get through this. God will bring good out of this tragedy (Romans 8:28). Not one thing happened on Monday that God didn’t already know was going to happen. God is, even now, IN CONTROL. This fact will not take away your pain, but it will, if you keep on trusting in Him, give you strength and peace.

    “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side … be still my soul, the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.” [Hymn "Be Still, My Soul" - tune, Finlandia]

    **************
    Hey, Andy G! How’s it going? I’m still as silly as ever (perpetual 10-year-old in a disguise that gets better every year!). Hope your school year is going well.

  33. You are so welcome, Luther (a “mighty fortress is [your] God”!) Your soul is “… safe and secure from all alarms. Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.”

  34. Brian [May 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm] says:

    “Alexander F is a toolbox.”

    Alexander F is absolutely correct.

    You could learn a lot from folks like him.

  35. I quite agree about Boxer et al and their political self serving on other people’s tragedy.
    Boxer should stand down.

  36. @ _Jim says: May 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Nothing scientific about it. That was when the Tornado sirens went off. As I do not live there, nor do I (nor did I state I know) what is the criteria that is used to sound the sirens, I suggest you might want to talk to those who run the system.

    But that is just what I would do.

  37. Luther Wu says May 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm
    _____________
    The whole thing happened really fast- something like bluesky to final lift in 45 minutes.

    Thank you for that confirmation ;^) I was ‘observing’ real-time via the good folks (Gary England and crew including on-the-ground storm observers/’chasers’ w their near real-time mobile video and their helicopter with live TV-quality video) at KOCO and the weather.rap.ucar.edu website for the various meteorological conditions (incl satellite imagery e.g. IR, WV etc, upper-air condx incl individual Skew-T diagrams for each Radiosonde balloon-launch site, and surface condx: dewpoint and temperature).

    It’s just that I’m getting the impression from some posters who may be thinking that Oklahomans were totally unaware of the possibilities that day (the Day 1 Convective Outlook from NOAA’s NWS SPC of course detailed the prognosis and synopsis for the ‘set up’ that day), that no one was ‘watching’ for the development of severe storms or weather that day (also including Sunday, which most ppl gloss over too I think).

    Unlike the broadcast ‘media’ seen (perhaps) in most areas, the broadcasters in the OKC area have their act together, so maybe posters are basing their ‘experience’ with TV coverage from the (possibly) inadequate coverage from broadcasters in their own markets.

    To that end, perhaps ppl don’t realize the broadcasters go with wall-to-wall coverage of this stuff (even here in the DFW area!) in the broadcast media when severe weather is present. It helps to *know* where the heavy stuff is in order to take the necessary action to survive!

    In the case of Oklahoma City, several radio stations tie-in with coverage TV station KOCO provides (they may also tying in with another TV station or two given inferences I saw/heard that day but can’t swear to it) and provide *excellent* real-time coverage to the public.

    Perhaps ppl don’t realize the conditions under which these particularly strong Twisters formed; It’s a little different when the only ‘player’ on stage (the 1st storm that afternoon) ‘blossoms-up’, hurling out prodigious amounts of lightning (WHICH I might add is easily observable/hear-able in the DFW area on a loopstick-antenna based radio tuned to longwave, ~250 kHz *) with accompanying thunder and then goes tornadic in a relatively short time.

    .

    * This is the means by which I know that somewhere along the dryline something has popped up and the ‘show’ has begun; thunderstorm genesis has been successful and it’s ‘game on’ for severe weather.

  38. philjourdan says May 23, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Nothing scientific about it. That was when the Tornado sirens went off.

    That is really a very poor means of notification; a holdover from the cold war days when those were termed air-raid sirens (and many were, verily, first installed via grant monies for “Civil Defense” infrastructure construction including fallout shelters!)

    ‘City fathers’ have been known to ‘pull’ the actuation of those sirens out of fear that ‘something’ was happening out there in their city and they feared getting caught with their pants down … this is as juxtaposed against the observing of a tornado, or the NWS issuance of a ‘warning’.

    Also figure in the ‘propagation delay’ through the ‘official’ system for siren activation:

    1) Storm spotter, law enforcement or ‘the public’ generates a ‘phoned-in’ report (nowadays the NWS forecast offices have ‘chat’ sessions active between the local NWS office mets and TV mets as well as select in-the-field storm spotters)
    2) NWS Office personnel receive report, the report is ‘screened’ for validity (weed out false reports, esp. from the public)
    3) The report info is formatted into a format suitable for dissemination via teletype (olddays), the internet (today) usually via EMWIN * (the ‘official’ info channel from the NWS that cities should be using: this is the direct line from the NWS, but it’s not always timely) for dissemination to ‘using’ authorities.
    4) City pulls switch to activate sirens (IF the siren still has power available; some have battery plants as backup). The city can also pull the switch for any reason under the sun as well, and, in the case of Shanwee 2013 (Sunday) and Moore 2013 (Monday) they may have been viewing the actual ‘live’ coverage of the tornado on KOCO TV and acted to ‘sound’ the sirens ….

    .

    * EMWIN page:
    “Emergency Managers Weather Information Network”

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/emwin/index.htm

    • @_Jim – then take it up with the local officials. For some unknown reason you take pride in attacking the messenger. I reported. I did not analyze. If you do not like their system, I am sure they would love to hear from you on a better one.

      But retro or not, effective or not, the system is still widely used. Even in non-Tornado prone areas as a means to warn nearby residents of issues affecting them. As I do not work for the EMS at any government level, you are wasting your time trying to convince me that you have a superior system.

  39. u.k.(us) says May 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    The Met’s did good.
    Now let’s ring every cell-phone in the region with the warning.

    A) An excellent job, I agree. And ppl heeded their warnings. Ppl in OK and OKC area are Tornado-safety savvy!

    B) Perhaps (?) in your neck of the woods (the bowels of NYC subways, ensconced deep within a skyscraper or maybe deep in the NY Fed’s or JPM’s Gold vault, or perhaps madly scoring pork belies on the CME trading floor in Chicago?)

    Could we instead require 162 MHz NWS receivers (with SAME *1 technology) be built-in to cell phones, to take advantage of alternate RF transmission technology (alternate to the required call-phone infrastructure of base stations and backhaul T-span trunks)? Maybe even support the requirement that commercial FM broadcast receivers be built into cell phones? *2

    I (and a lot of other ppl) don’t necessarily want their cell phones popping off if we’re already aware of a situation; what to do if driving in traffic? We already have prohibitions against texting and now I have an ‘alert’ pop up … this needs more disc. but not ATTM.

    Where do we draw the line in applying ‘preemptive safety’ (allied with the ‘precautionary principle’ I think) measures? Where do ppl take some amount of responsibility (which I contend they did in the OKC/Moore/Shawnee areas on Sunday and Monday) for their actions in life?

    “Situational awareness” *is* more than just a catch phrase, you know …

    .

    *1 NWS “SAME” (Specific Area Message Encoding) protocol:
    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrsame.htm

    *2 “Congress to mandate FM radio receivers in all cell phones?”:
    http://www.androidcentral.com/congress-mandate-fm-radio-recievers-all-cell-phones

  40. philjourdan says May 23, 2013 at 7:07 am

    … then take it up with the local officials.

    Largely, in many locations, for the astute observer they are irrelevant; I thought you might want informed, in depth discussion on this subject? Maybe not? Things are not so monolithic in the real world.

    I have long thought that sirens were woefully inadequate; as I wrote above in response to u.k.(us):

    Where do we draw the line in applying ‘preemptive safety’ (allied with the ‘precautionary principle’ I think) measures? Where do ppl take some amount of responsibility (which I contend they did in the OKC/Moore/Shawnee areas on Sunday and Monday) for their actions in life?

    “Situational awareness” *is* more than just a catch phrase, you know …

    We have the wherewithal today to equip each man, woman and child with a wireless warning device tied directly to a governmentally-sanctioned message content; You have seen the NWS “All Hazards Radio” receivers (not just called “weather radios” anymore) that are available today?

    Do we need to proceed with a program in that direction, equipping everyone with a rechargeable ‘All Hazards Radio’? These are just questions/thoughts I pose, from the ‘Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’ …

    .

  41. mavbraselton@gmail.com on May 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm:

    hi there wizzards can stop tornados witn magic

    hi there your email address verified so i signed you up for a monthly nasa newsletter to expose you to some real science

    you can unsubscribe here

    since you have yet to learn to not post an email address online this may be the nicest new thing in your inbox that you will be exposed to

  42. Possible temporary/semi-permanent shelters that could be placed over existing slabs in Moore/OKC?

    FEMA, are you listening?

    .

  43. From _Jim on May 23, 2013 at 8:39 am:

    FEMA, are you listening?

    Too late, they already sent in the emergency no-bid purchase order for more trailer homes to a union-shop manufacturer in Chicago that accidentally was a major campaign contributor to both Barry and Rahm, citing the projected short delivery times due to being so physically close. Press Secretary Carney has already authorized the release criticizing the Bush Administration for selling off the Katrina surplus.

    But FEMA does listen to their detractors, it does learn from their mistakes. It is solidly in the specifications, all trailers must be equipped with an automatic forced ventilation system to dissipate the formaldehyde vapors.

  44. mavbraselton@gmail.com says:
    May 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    hi there wizzards can stop tornados witn magic
    _______________
    Can’t really be sure what you’re saying, but…

    I see you attack strangers with words you think so clever which I see all over the place at those hate sites where everyone points fingers and slings hateful epithets at all whom they don’t understand while congratulating each other because they don’t have the eyes to see what they are doing or the ears to hear what they are saying and now finally you began to realize the hollowness within you and you come here and strike out at others hoping someone notices when you scream SOMEBODY HELP ME !!!

    Is that what you are saying?

  45. From Luther Wu on May 23, 2013 at 10:18 am:

    I see you attack strangers with words you think so clever which I see all over the place at those hate sites where everyone points fingers and slings hateful epithets at all…

    Luther, Google finds that email address, 20 times, spread over a few years. Recent samples, same site:

    One:

    May 19, 2013 at 3:49 am

    hi there i have wii u sonic racing game and wii mario kart and have mario kart 64 soo be alwsoume too soo a sonic and mario raceing be alwsoume

    Two, the very next comment at same exact thread:

    May 19, 2013 at 3:50 am

    hi there i want multi game pad suport

    At a 2009 somewhat-technical article about possible laser hard drives (optical magnetization), he commented in 2011:

    hi there will a laser hard drive fit in a ps3 soo i
    can game at 300 terabytes per second or 300 tb/s

    Sounds like he’s one of the “special” people, who loves his video games on the consoles, who can browse them intarwebs, and even sometimes post comments.

    And he always starts with “hi there”. So polite, God bless him.

  46. _Jim says:

    May 23, 2013 at 8:39 am
    =========
    Will the walls hold up, if you 1/2 buried it, and used it as a tornado shelter ?

  47. “God bless him.”

    Oh, boy. LAUGHING OUT LOUD, K. D.! Great work above. Thank you SO MUCH for the best antidote we can have to all the sorrow: laughter. Ha, ha, ha, ha, haaaaa!

    I can just see that little gamer, grinning madly, sending his “hi there’s” all over cyberspace. Someday, he’ll be running for president, bless his heart.

    *******************************

    And, Luther, you GO, man! What a fine spirit.

  48. I road out the F3 that ripped through Redstone Arsenal onapril 4th, 1974, I saw the tornado on the TV weather radar about 4 seconds before it physically arrived, which gave me three steps warning. The sound was more like a steam locomotive, but most people leave out the locomotive hitting your building part. The only reason I survived it was the tornado skipped off the ground 500 feet when it went over. Earlier I had personaly seen 4 funnels on the ground, 3 at the same time. My suspicion is that many past tornadoes durring outbreaks were unreported due to being thought duplicates, or people assume someone else would report them.

    Knowing what an F3 500 feet over head is like, an F5 on the ground has to be like Armageddon.

  49. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    May 23, 2013 at 11:19 am
    _________________
    Yes, I see that. now- thanks… had wholly the wrong idea- mistaking him for someone who uses such terminology when trash talking about Christians.
    Oh well. I’m frequently wrong.

  50. u.k.(us) says May 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Will the walls hold up, if you 1/2 buried it, and used it as a tornado shelter ?

    I don’t know; I’d have to know a few engineering parameters on the wall’s ‘pressure’ (differential holding) strength before making a call on that. Could be that the entire cast -er- rather ‘hardened (but thin) concrete fabric structure’ would be sucked right out of the ground (with yourself still it it!) given the proposed (partial) burial method. That structure will be holding an awful lot of approx. 15 psi (2,160 lbs/sq ft) capable air under it …

  51. _Jim says:

    May 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm
    =========
    Good points (way over my pay scale).
    But, it is the winds that destroy things, not the vacuum ?

  52. “I’m frequently wrong.” [L.W.]

    Me too.

    That you ADMIT it, however, proves you are no fool.

    *****************************

    U.K. (U.S.)!

    I have just missed you twice in the past month. This will be my last attempt. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kind words to me when I first starting posting on WUWT. I was so grateful.

    And, you CAN write.

    (just a “Yup” would be so appreciated — thanks!)

  53. u.k.(us) says May 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Good points (way over my pay scale).
    But, it is the winds that destroy things, not the vacuum ?

    The *rapid* movement of air over the partially exposed surface of the dome will creates a locally lowered absolute pressure (as it always does; even the Jet stream over a lower air mass creates this ‘lowered’ area of pressure) … think: the Bernoulli (or Venturi) effect: “an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure”. Same effect when you try to hold up a piece of paper horizontally then blow _across_ the top and the paper seems to get ‘lifted’ (actually air from below, at slightly greater pressure is *lifting* the paper…. reason why I mentioned the 15 psi (abs) air pressure in the dome before.)

    As the strong wind blows across the dome, the ‘pressure’ won’t have dropped inside the dome, therefore, a force differential will exist between inside and outside the dome (in the *outward* direction). Car windows get ‘sucked’ out this way, with strong, brief winds for instance.

    Watch these cars get literally ‘sucked’ up, not blown, until they do get airborne. The air underneath them is what actually ‘lifts’ them (there is no real force such as ‘vacuum’, only differential of air *pressure*):

    .

  54. Janice Moore says:

    May 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm
    ======
    You are welcome.
    I don’t give accolades very often.
    It must have been well deserved (as a skeptic).
    But, I like to stay in the background, I’ll continue to enjoy your comments.

  55. _Jim says:

    May 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    =====
    It is the evacuation of the fluid (air) that moved the cars.
    Nicely explained.
    Thanks for upsetting my world-view, still processing.

  56. u.k.(us) says May 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm:

    It is the evacuation of the fluid (air) that moved the cars.

    Rather, it is the __reduced pressure__ above the cars which allows the __HIGHER pressure air below__ the cars to then _lift_ the cars …

    Try that trick of blowing across a sheet of notebook paper, and watch it rise.

    These guys describe the effect:

    http://www.fi.edu/flight/own2/lift-paper.html

    PS. Do you know why we can’t draw water (via a pump capable of pulling a vacuum) from the top of a pipe more than about 33 feet tall (at sea level)?

  57. _Jim says:

    May 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    “PS. Do you know why we can’t draw water (via a pump capable of pulling a vacuum) from the top of a pipe more than about 33 feet tall (at sea level)? ”
    ===============
    So, now you are going to speak about the depth of gravity wells, and what they have managed to accumulate over time.
    Let’s start a whole course :)
    It might be faster, certainly more enlightening.

  58. So, now you are going to speak about the depth of gravity wells, and …

    Oh, no – we have never even left the realm of AIR PRESSURE yet!

    It all has to do with air pressure! That column of 33 (some odd) feet of water in weight ‘balances’ against the force of 15 PSI (actually closer to 14.7 PSI) air pressure seen at sea level!

    Remember – vacuum is nothing, it’s all AIR PRESSURE!

  59. The map shoes tornado ending before the lake. It didnt… lots damaged homes and property on other side.

  60. U.K. (US) — You are so cool. Way to hang in there. I was right there with you. Jim is obviously bright and highly knowledgeable. His teaching skills are of the army drill sergeant variety, I’m afraid. Pretty blunt. Not for me.

    Thank you for trying, Jim, in your enthusiastic and determined way to educate people like u.k. (us) and I. And thanks for the vicariously humbling experience (always a good thing!) of being shown just how little I really to know about science. I’m so glad I can come here and try to learn.

    Just wanted you to know, u.k.(us) that you and I are in the same boat.

    Oh, dear — I just heard via the police scanner that the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River just collapsed with people on it, cars in the water I must go — PRAY! ANYBODY WHO SEES THIS POST!

  61. http://www.idahopress.com/news/national/cars-in-water-after-bridge-collapse-on-i–north/article_14eebe84-c41b-11e2-ae5e-001a4bcf887a.html

    Cars in water after bridge collapse on I-5 north of Seattle

    Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 8:39 pm | Updated: 8:57 pm, Thu May 23, 2013.

    MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – The Washington State Patrol is reporting that cars and some people are in the Skagit River this evening, and authorities are halting traffic after the Interstate 5 bridge between Mount Vernon and Burlington collapsed, reports the Skagit Valley Herald, the Idaho Press-Tribune’s sister paper.

    Note this has yet to be connected by Romm or Hansen to climate change. Updates pending.

  62. Glad to see NW Alabama and NE Mississippi get the respect they deserve. That is tornado alley. I grew up there. Sorry I do not have time to share stories. I will say that as a child I spent a lot of time in a storm cellar.

  63. Well, Mr. Goodwin, from your fine posts on WUWT and the warm, generous, spirit you have shown, that was clearly time well spent!

    Perhaps, juvenile delinquents (or what-EVER the p.c. label for them is, now) would benefit. Meh, I think it’s too late by that time, maybe if they were actually IN a tornado… (no, I’m not hoping they will die, I say to whomever thought I meant that).

  64. _Jim says: May 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    u.k.(us) says May 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm Good points (way over my pay scale).
    But, it is the winds that destroy things, not the vacuum ?
    The *rapid* movement of air over the partially exposed surface of the dome will creates a locally lowered absolute pressure (as it always does; even the Jet stream over a lower air mass creates this ‘lowered’ area of pressure) … think: the Bernoulli (or Venturi) effect: “an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure”….
    As the strong wind blows across the dome, the ‘pressure’ won’t have dropped inside the dome, therefore, a force differential will exist between inside and outside the dome (in the *outward* direction). Car windows get ‘sucked’ out this way, with strong, brief winds for instance.
    Watch these cars get literally ‘sucked’ up, not blown, until they do get airborne. The air underneath them is what actually ‘lifts’ them (there is no real force such as ‘vacuum’, only differential of air *pressure*):

    I think the pressure flipping the cars in the video is dynamic pressure from the wind getting under the car, not the static pressure difference from the Bernoulli effect of the wind over them. Even the sleekest of cars aren’t in the same league as real aerodynamic surfaces like wings and propellers. Notice the cars are being levered up, nearly always having something touching the ground, and the ones that do get airborne don’t stay up for more than an instant.

    The wind does destroy things, but the ‘vacuum’ in the core going over a house or building can blow them up. Not really a vacuum, but a big F5 tornado core can be 2 or 3 psi less than ambient. That’s 6 or 7 tons of pull on a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood, a huge bunch more on a whole house. You don’t get that with hurricanes.

  65. Janice Moore says
    May 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for the compliments, Janice. Growing up on a working farm with a father who truly works would work wonders for children of today.

    To a child, the storm events were much like campfire events and we missed school. Sometimes we toured the damage later. We were not hit by a tornado.

  66. Sen. Boxer should be ashamed. So should those who push building codes that mandate shelters in schools and homes. People should have every right to decide to die (along with their children) without the government mandating a shelter of some sort.

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