Well, the secret is out. I’ve been storm chasing here in the U.S. from South Dakota to Texas to Oklahoma over the past week. In all I saw seven tornadoes. I’ll share all of my of pictures and video when I return to Newfoundland and Labrador next week.
My group was chasing a storm just south of Moore when the devastating EF5 tornado ripped through here on Monday. The National Weather Service has now discovered EF5 damage in the destruction, which means peak winds of 320-340 km/h and makes it one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S.
The path of destruction is almost indescribable: two kilometres wide, 27 kilometres long. The tornado was on the ground for 50 minutes.
Looking at the rubble in the wake of this storm, there’s little doubt that advanced warnings saved lives here in Moore.
I can tell you, even mid-last week forecasters were talking about the potential for a widespread severe weather outbreak from Saturday to Monday, especially here in Oklahoma. On Sunday, numerous tornadoes dropped just north of the city, where at least one person was killed.
On Monday morning, forecasters were again talking about the severe weather and tornado potential, especially for the Oklahoma City area.
It was 2:40 p.m. when the first tornado warning was issued. It was only five minutes later that the tornado touched down in the Newcastle area as an EF0 and about 20 minutes later it began to move into Moore.
A rare Tornado Emergency warning was issued at 3:01 p.m., which was 14 minutes before the storm ripped though Moore. These warnings prompt alerts on television, radio, mobile phones and of course tornado sirens.
Tragically, 24 people lost their lives here on Monday.
However the advanced warning systems and outlooks by forecasters surely saved lives here in Moore, Okla.