Moore, Oklahoma Tornado Tracking Report
EF5 | Injuries: hundreds | Fatalities: 24
On the afternoon of Monday, May 20, 2013, a monster tornado 1.3 miles wide with winds at EF5 strength devastated parts of Moore, Oklahoma injuring hundreds and killing at least 24 people.
It all started when a sharp dryline plowed across Oklahoma into very warm and moist air already in place from the Gulf of Mexico. This moisture was responsible for all of the severe weather in the Plains over the past weekend. The strong dryline was the weather equivalent of striking a match over a lake of gasoline.
At 2:45pm, the deadliest tornado since the Joplin, Missouri twister of 2011 first touched ground between the towns of Bridge Creek and Newcastle approximately 12 miles southwest of Moore, Oklahoma. Initially a disorganized EF1 tornado, it rapidly grew into a killer at about 4 miles (10 minutes) into it’s 17-mile-long path.
Sadly, the tornado produced it’s peak winds of approximately 200 to 210 miles per hour (EF5) right as it hit Briarwood Elementary School. The tornado continued moving in an east-northeasterly direction somewhere between EF4 and EF3 strength before slamming into a second elementary school – Plaza Towers Elementary. Turning slightly towards the northeast, the twister then plowed into the Moore Warren movie theater complex with winds once again within the EF4 category. Still at EF4 strength, the tornado tears into a third school – Highland East Junior High School.
PBS Documentary – NOVA – Oklahomas Deadliest Tornados