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Oklahoma Tornado

oklahoma tonrado

More severe weather pounded Oklahoma State on Friday, May 31st.

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(FOX News) The death toll climbed to 18 Monday as search crews recovered more bodies after an outbreak of tornadoes tore through the Oklahoma City area on May 31.

Among the victims are six children and twelve adults, including three veteran storm chasers.

The National Weather Service says five tornadoes touched down Friday, along with heavy rain that caused widespread flooding. Some victims have been difficult to find because their bodies floated away.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department says a 34-year-old woman remains missing.

STORM CHASERS 2010

Carl Young and Tim Samaras watching the sky. (Discovery Channel)

The death of Tim Samaras, star of Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers,” along with his son Paul and colleague Carl Young, has raised questions over whether the risk of dashing off into violent storms in Tornado Alley is too great.

“I think there will be some who will step back and say: `Am I really doing something safe here?”‘ said Michael Armstrong, a meteorologist for KWTV in Oklahoma City. “I think you’ll probably have others … that just feel that invincibility that they’ve always felt and they’ll keep doing what they’re doing and basically look at it as though it was an aberration or an outlier.”

Oklahoma is considered the “mecca of storm chasing,” Tim Samaras told National Geographic just last month, and there are often hundreds of storm chasers lining the roads. Seasoned storm trackers provide critical field data that can’t be gleaned from high-powered Doppler radar, veteran meteorologists say. But they’re increasingly competing with storm-chasing tours, amateur weather enthusiasts inspired by cable TV shows and tornado paparazzi speeding from storm to storm.

Samaras’ colleagues said he took numerous safety precautions, spending hours looking at weather models and developing safe escape routes and rendezvous points. All were done in case his crew would have to pull away from a tornado and use well-maintained roads that wouldn’t turn into “pancake batter” in rain.

“Storm chasing isn’t about what you see on TV. It’s about forecasting and safety preparation,” said Ben McMillan, a storm chaser from Des Moines, Iowa, who teamed up in 2011 with Samaras and Ed Grubb of Thornton, Colo., for the Discovery Channel show “Storm Chasers”

Samaras also usually drove a three-quarter ton truck with a reinforced lining, Grubb said, but had a smaller truck last week because he was on a three-week research trip focused mostly on lightning.

The deadly tornado that struck near El Reno, Okla., on Friday was an EF3 with winds up to 165 mph..

 

9killedintornado

Nine people were killed in tornadoes that swept through central Oklahoma on Friday, part of a storm system that caused widespread flooding in Oklahoma City and its suburbs, the state’s chief medical examiner said on Saturday.

The dead included two children and seven adults, said Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office. The death earlier had been reported as five.

The tornadoes struck just 11 days after a twister ranked as EF5, the most powerful ranking possible, tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore and killed 24 people.

The storms dumped up to 8 inches (20 cm) of rain on the Oklahoma City area, causing flash flooding that submerged parts of the sprawling metropolitan area that is home to more than 1.3 million people. Nearly two dozen people were rescued from areas cut off by rising water, the National Weather Servicesaid.

Forecasters said the severe weather would shift on Saturday into Illinois, after it also hit neighboringMissouri, where Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency on Friday.

Source: Chicago Tribune

tornado2

Union City, Oklahoma (CNN) — The full scale of the destruction wrought by five new tornadoes that plowed through the Oklahoma City area became apparent in the light of day Saturday.

Friday evening’s twisters killed at least five people and injured scores more, less than two weeks after a monstrous tornado made rubble of the town of Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

“There’s just no rest,” said city spokeswoman Kristy Yager.

In all, 17 tornadoes were reported in the Midwest. The number was expected to change when officials conduct storm surveys, said Kurt Van Speybroeck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

By Saturday, more than 210,000 customers were without power in the Midwest — 89,000 in Missouri, 86,000 in Oklahoma, 31,000 in Illinois, 3,000 in Arkansas, 1,000 in Kansas and 500 in Indiana.

While the twisters damaged houses in Missouri and Illinois, the brunt of their force was reserved for Oklahoma City and its surrounding areas, including El Reno and Union City.

Among the dead were a mother and her child, officials said.

At least 71 others were injured.

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Source: CNN

CNN) — Calling hundreds stuck in traffic jams in the Oklahoma City area “sitting ducks” for oncoming tornadoes, authorities were urging people to abandon their vehicles and find low-lying cover.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado emergency for a number of areas in and around Oklahoma’s capital city, with tornadoes reportedly moving just outside of Moore, near the suburb of Bethany, north of Union City and outside Tinker Air Force Base.

Parts of Interstates 35 and 40, which cut through Oklahoma City and Moore, were “a parking lot,” the weather service said, warning that those caught in the heavy rush hour traffic “are in danger.”

“We’ve got a nightmare situation going on right now,” Betsy Randolph, a state Highway Patrol spokeswoman, told CNN.

“They are essentially sitting ducks on the interstate.”

Overturned big rigs and cars littered portions of the roadway, and thousands more were believed to be stuck in the traffic.

“My biggest concern right now is the traffic that is out on the highway right now,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said.

She said she has called out the National Guard, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the state Office of Emergency Management to “try to get the traffic moving” and get people to shelter.

The tornado emergency declaration means a large, destructive tornado is moving into a densely populated area where widespread damage and fatalities could occur.

The weather service issued the tornado emergency for Oklahoma City as well as its suburbs of Moore, Yukon and Bethany.

Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport was evacuated over the threat from the approaching tornado, and travelers were being sheltered in the airport’s basement, authorities said. Power was out at the airport, officials said.

Even those in the National Weather Center — a building on the University of Oklahoma campus with tenants that include the National Severe Storms Laboratory and NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center — “have been urged to stay away from windows due to potential for 80-90 mph winds,” according to a tweet from weather service’s Norman office, which also is based in the building.

Police and firefighters were responding to reports of damage in El Reno, just outside Union City, but it was not immediately known how bad the damage was, Mayor Matt White said.

Authorities were urging people in the path of the tornado to take immediate cover, and Fallin was urging residents not to take any risks.

In Moore, where a massive tornado leveled much of the city this month, Mayor Glenn Lewis said it was unimaginable that the city was in the path of another tornado.

A reported tornado was located four miles northwest of Moore, moving east-southeast at 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service forecasters and storm spotters.

The storm was so fierce that the Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes, known for his on-the-ground severe weather reports, said his Tornado Hunt vehicle was thrown about 200 yards.

“Airbags deployed. All are safe,” Bettes said in a post on Twitter.

More than 50,000 customers were without power by early Friday evening in the Oklahoma City area because of severe weather, the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. said.

More than half the city of Mustang, 17 miles south of Oklahoma City, was without power, Mustang Fire Chief Roy Widmann said.

As they dug out from deadly twisters that ravaged the Oklahoma City metropolitan area — with the suburb of Moore being hardest hit — people there suffered through yet another powerful storm Friday.

The National Weather Service reported numerous tornadoes around the area. The agency also noted there was a “confirmed and extremely dangerous tornado” about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis, Missouri.

Latest development:

– Two people have died as a result of severe weather in and around Oklahoma City, a hospital official said. Integris Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon received two fatalities and 14 patients, three of them critical, Integris Health’s Brooke Cayot said.

– The Oklahoma City suburb of Moore — devastated by a deadly tornado earlier this month — was experiencing major flooding due to torrential rains, Mayor Glenn Lewis said Friday night.

– All tornado warnings and tornado emergencies for the Oklahoma City area had expired as of 9 p.m. (10 p.m. ET), according to the National Weather Service. Flash-flood warnings remained in effect for much of the area.

Previously reported developments:

– A tornado emergency issued by the National Weather Service on Friday night includes Oklahoma City and Moore, the community devastated by a deadly tornado earlier this month. A tornado emergency means that a large, destructive tornado is moving into a densely populated area and widespread damage and fatalities are likely.

– The National Weather Service also declared a tornado emergency for parts of the western Oklahoma City metropolitan area that includes the suburbs of Yukon and Bethany.

– The National Weather Service reported “a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado … located near St. Charles” in Missouri at 8:06 p.m. (9:06 p.m. ET). St. Charles is about 25 miles northwest of St. Louis. This twister was moving east at 50 mph.

– Those in Norman — home to the University of Oklahoma — should “expect 80-90 mph winds and embedded tornadoes,” the National Weather Service warned. “Take your tornado precautions RIGHT NOW!!”

– Those in the National Weather Center — a building on the University of Oklahoma campus with tenants that include the National Severe Storms Laboratory and NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center — “have been urged to stay away from windows due to potential for 80-90 mph winds,” according to a tweet from staff at the National Weather Service’s Norman office, which also is based in the building.

– Some 50,000 customers in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area were without power at about 8 p.m. Friday (9 p.m. ET), Oklahoma Gas and Electric reported.

– There were reports at 7:48 p.m. (8:48 p.m. ET) of a tornado near Tuttle — which is about 25 miles southwest of Oklahoma City — the National Weather Service said. The twister was moving east-southeast at 25 mph.

– A “confirmed tornado” has been spotted four miles northwest of Moore, the National Weather Service said. This tornado is moving east-southeast at 30 mph.

– A tornado reportedly touched down seven miles south of Calumet, Oklahoma, near El Reno, on Friday, the National Weather Service said.

– There is a “developing tornado” south of Del City, Oklahoma, that is moving toward Tinker Air Force Base, the National Weather Service said Friday night. The base is about nine miles east of Oklahoma City.

– An 87-mph wind gust was recorded at the air force base, the National Weather Service tweeted.

– The National Weather Service tweeted Friday night that severe weather “will threaten” the Women’s College World Series — the NCAA’s softball championship — and an Oklahoma City Redhawks minor league baseball game “in the next hour.”

– The National Weather Service said Friday night that there is a “serious flash-flooding threat” in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. “Do not drive into areas where water covers the road!!” the service tweeted.

– The National Weather Service described parts of Interstate 35 as “a parking lot” and said that those in traffic “are in danger.” “Please try to get to a building or safe shelter!” the service tweeted as severe weather moved through the Oklahoma City area.

– Multiple tractor-trailers have overturned on Interstate 40 in Canadian County — which is west of Oklahoma City and includes the city of El Reno — due to severe weather, said Keri Mankey of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

– “We are desperately asking people to abandon Interstate 40″ and head east or south because of severe weather there, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said. She said there are reports of injuries, and authorities are trying to get people to local hospitals. “We’re in a desperate situation,” Randolph said. “It’s dire right now.”

– Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said authorities are “trying to do everything we can to get the traffic moving” on interstates crammed with vehicles in the severe weather. “We’ve got to get people off the highways,” Fallin said. Warning signs were put out around 4 p.m., advising people about the threat of tornadoes.

– Interstate 35 from Purcell north toward Oklahoma City was shut to traffic later Friday night due to severe weather, said Randolph. “We have got just a nightmare situation right now,” Randolph said of the scene on I-35 and Interstate 40.

– A new tornado has been reported just east of Will Rogers World Airport, the National Weather Service tweeted on Friday night.

– A National Weather Service sensor at the Oklahoma City airport recorded a 71 mph wind gust. The airport has been evacuated because of the threat of tornadoes.

– Sometime after 9 p.m., the airport still had no power, airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. Workers were then in the process of allowing people out from where they had taken shelter due to a tornado threat. Carney said she did not know whether anything — including planes and terminals — had been damaged.

– National Weather Service forecasters and storm spotters in Oklahoma were “tracking a large and extremely dangerous tornado six miles southwest of El Reno,” moving southeast at about 20 mph, according to an advisory.

– El Reno Mayor Matt White said police and firefighters are checking for damage from a reported tornado, but it’s not clear how bad things are because the city’s cell phone towers are knocked out. Half the city of Mustang is without power, but there were no immediate reports of damage there, said Roy Widmann of that city’s fire department. El Reno is about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City; Mustang is 17 miles southwest of that city.

– At about 8:15 p.m. (9:15 p.m. ET), the National Weather Service tweeted that the “tornado threat is decreasing” in and around Oklahoma City. “May see brief weak tornadoes along leading edge of storms pushing southeast.”

– Discussing how his city fared as severe weather rolled through Friday, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett told CNN, “We feel relatively fortunate, but the night’s young.”

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