May 22, 2013

Moore, OK is "the only city in the world to have taken a direct hit from an EF5 twister twice."

And the previous Moore tornado, in 1999, had higher winds (at 302 mph). The Moore tornado was wide — 1.3 miles — but not the widest tornado on record (which was 2.5 miles, in Hallam, Nebraska in 2004).

31 comments:

bpm4532 said...

Stuff happens, but though the frequency of tornadoes and other violent weather has declined, some people will use this as proof positive of their own personal agenda.

drozz said...

something something global warming something

roadgeek said...

An acquaintance of mine is fond of saying that he's from Oklahoma, where "our tornadoes go to F6"

Shanna said...

I'm pretty sure Oklahoma is second only to Kansas in tornado frequency. Arkansas might be third.

Oklahoma also gets tons of ice storms.

Unknown said...

Moore, Oklahoma happens to be located in an area north of the Arbuckle mountain range and south of Oklahoma City with it's massive infrastructure that retains heat. When the cooler air from the Rockies meets the warm air coming up from Texas over the mountain range, and the heat from Oklahoma City area, it sets the stage for massive super cells. It's called weather, not climate change, just weather...

MadisonMan said...

I was surprised the death toll was as low as it was. Kudos to the NWS for timely warnings.

Leland said...

It's called weather, not climate change, just weather...

I'd call it geography, but otherwise, totally agree with your point.

Unknown said...

Moore, Oklahoma happens to be located in an area north of the Arbuckle mountain range and south of Oklahoma City with it's massive infrastructure that retains heat. When the cooler air from the Rockies meets the warm air coming up from Texas over the mountain range, and the heat from Oklahoma City area, it sets the stage for massive super cells. It's called weather, not climate change, just weather...

Tibore said...

"Moore, OK is "the only city in the world to have taken a direct hit from an EF5 twister twice."

Unfortunate, that's for certain. But at the same time, it's nothing more than a statistical aberration. One that's God awful, since lives are lost, but as far as we know, there's nothing about the city that actually attracts tornadoes. This was just Mother Nature at her most capricious.

bagoh20 said...

I've been scanning the channels this morning like I often do, and notice that the main news stories on every one except FOX was the Oklahoma tornado. Only Fox was putting the current government scandals front and center. It seems that regardless of who you think is biased, there is clearly a substantial difference in what you would think is important and happening depending on what station you choose.

They all shifted to the congressional hearings when that started.

It seems strange to me that what was a near non-story on most outlets suddenly gets covered non stop when the hearing started. Also there is very little "news" out of Oklahoma, and new developments on the government scandals are coming out every few hours, and it's an unprecedented level of very serious questions being raised.

Tibore said...

Addendum to my last post: There's nothing about the city that attracts tornadoes. I understand what the Tornado Belt is, but that's a broad area covering multiple states. Yes, tornado incidents are higher there. But I'm talking a specific geographic point within that area. As far as I know, no places within the belt are at higher risk than others, and certainly not a place as point-specific as a city.

edutcher said...

O-O-O-klahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...

There's a warning in there somewhere.

Roger J. said...

Edutcher--you beat me to it.

In all seriousness I do offer my hopes and prayers for the good people of OK--that was a terrible disaster and I hope, probably without hope, that it will not be politicized.

lgv said...

per Shana

"I'm pretty sure Oklahoma is second only to Kansas in tornado frequency."

Texas is #1.

My son-in-law was picking up his son at Briarwood elementary. He saw the storm coming and took around six kids back in the school and into the bathroom. It ripped off the wall. One of the cinder blocks hit him it the head. He was released from the hospital the next morning. All the kids were fine.

His truck that was parked in front of the school has still not been found.

mark said...

Tibore said...
Unfortunate, that's for certain. But at the same time, it's nothing more than a statistical aberration. One that's God awful, since lives are lost, but as far as we know, there's nothing about the city that actually attracts tornadoes. This was just Mother Nature at her most capricious.

I don't think it is an aberration. When you watch a stream or river you will see areas where vortices are more common then others. Exact location and timing are outside of prediction. But, still within the realm of statistical modeling.

Air is, essentially, just a fluid as well. So having regions of higher probability for vortices would be probable just based upon terrain. Of course the statistical models for this would actually be space and time based. And spatio-temporal statistics is still rather young as far as mathematics goes.

Tibore said...

" When you watch a stream or river you will see areas where vortices are more common then others. Exact location and timing are outside of prediction. But, still within the realm of statistical modeling."

And to use your analogy, pinning a higher probability of tornadoes on Moore is like pinning higher likelyhood of a vortex forming over a specific pebble rather than a given area in the stream. My point was that the tornado belt's higher probability of experiencing twisters is already established, but it's not proven that the specific spot of Moore, Oklahoma is any higher than any other point in the belt. Hence, my followup post.

MadisonMan said...

"I'm pretty sure Oklahoma is second only to Kansas in tornado frequency."

Texas is #1.

Link. Texas has the most tornadoes. But Texas is a big state. It is 3.26x the size of Kansas, and 3.84x the size of Oklahoma. If you normalize for area (and you should :) ), then Kansas is #1. Oklahoma is #2.

MadisonMan said...

Then there's this article that includes information for states outside of Tornado Alley. Florida and Iowa/Illinois and even Maryland (!) have higher frequencies than OK!

MadisonMan said...

I love this map too, showing days since the last tornado warning issued by the NWS office. It's not current, since obviously OUN has issued a tornado warning recently, but almost 10 years since one was issued by EKA!

Okay, I'll stop now. I'm the bore at the party who won't stop talking about the weather.

Leland said...

Texas is number 1, but the severity is higher in Oklahoma and Kansas. As Madman suggests, normalize, but also look at the severity. An EF0 isn't nearly the same as an EF3. I'm comfortable in my house with an EF2, but I hope to never see an EF5 within 50 miles of my house.

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shanna said...

I don't think it is an aberration. When you watch a stream or river you will see areas where vortices are more common then others.

I'm convinced there is something about terrain that increases frequency. I'm not familiar with Moore, but tornados always seem to go the same places in LR...

mariner said...

There's a reason the movie "Twister" was set in Oklahoma.

They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place; tornadoes apparently do.

If I lived in Moore I'd be thinking about relocating.

MadisonMan said...

More info on tornado distributions.

lgv said...

The stat was about frequency, not severity.

One may or may not want to normalize frequency. If one asks, "which state produces the most tomatoes?", does one answer base upon total output or do you assume you must normalize to output per acre?

If you normalize frequency, do you normalize severity? In than case, Iowa or Indiana would be number 1.

Shanna said...

does one answer base upon total output or do you assume you must normalize to output per acre?

I guess everybody counts it differently. Now I really have no idea what stat I saw.

Roger J. said...

Mariner (and others) while Memphis has it share of tornados and warnings, it is Jackson TN that seems to take the brunt of them--I don't know why other than the geography that seems to push tornadic activity over the bluffs upon which Memphis sits.

Would appreciate Madison Man's views on this weather (NOT climate) event.

ken in sc said...

I have lived it Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. In my life, the worse place for tornadoes was Alabama. The second was Mississippi. You could see waterspouts come off the gulf coast all the time. Although those didn't do much damage, they could turn into real tornadoes under the right conditions.

Tibore said...

"mark said...
I don't think it is an aberration. When you watch a stream or river you will see areas where vortices are more common then others. Exact location and timing are outside of prediction. But, still within the realm of statistical modeling."


Yes, but my point, clarified in my second post, was not about the areas, but specific points in the area. It's established by the NOAA that the Tornado Belt ("Alley", whatever) has more twisters per unit of area than other parts of the country. That's known; the NOAA even has a map on their website representing data back to 1991. But to use your analogy, singling out an individual city as being higher risk of being struck is akin to singling out a single rock in the stream for having a vortex form over it. As I understand things, there's no data establishing affinity to that small a geographic point; the data merely points to the northern Texas/Oklahoma/Kansas area as having a higher rate of tornado incidence per square mile. That's one hell of a broad area, and way larger than a single city.

Mike Smith said...

I'm a meteorologists specializing in tornadoes. It is premature to say the more recent Moore tornado had weaker winds than the 1999. The scale upon which these things are rated was changed in the interim and there was a mobile radar doing the measurements in 1999. As far as I know, this was not the case Monday.

Mike Smith said...

1. Texas
2. Oklahoma

in terms of number of tornadoes.