The first reports of damage, deaths and injuries are beginning to trickle in from today’s monster tornado that moved through Moore, Oklahoma. The staggering numbers and images are hard to comprehend.
Just like after Katrina, Joplin, and Tuscaloosa we’re reminded of nature’s power, fury, and cruel indifference. Throughout my life the weather has fascinated me. Whether it’s a Tornado, blizzard, or nor’easter for as long as I can remember I’ve found myself glued to a TV or window or standing outside in any kind of storm. It’s days like today that we’re reminded that nature’s incredible power can change lives and towns in an instant. Forecasts are better. Warnings are better. Sometimes no matter how good the warning or forecast or preparation or communication some storms are impossible to survive.
Moore, Oklahoma is no stranger to violent tornadoes. The F5 Bridge Creek-Moore tornado on May 3, 1999 was one of the most documented, photographed, and well forecast tornadoes in history. Parts of Moore were simply swept away. On May 20, 2013 history found a way of repeating itself.
The 1999 tornado was tracked live by local TV stations via helicopter much like this storm. The National Weather Service in Norman issued the first ever “Tornado Emergency” for Moore in 1999 just like they did today.
When a tornado become violent (EF-4/EF-5) surviving a direct hit, even if you take proper precautions, becomes difficult. This is how the radar looked through the storm’s evolution from Newcastle to Southwest Oklahoma City to Moore.
On radar you can see the monstrously large debris ball that gets larger and larger as more homes are chewed up and lofted along the tornado’s path.
This tornado will undoubtedly join the list of historic U.S. tornadoes – a list that has been growing too quickly in the last few years.