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Saturday, June 01, 2013

One Oklahoma City TV Station Suggested Outrunning May 31 Tornado

News stories today are making a point of how many Oklahoma City residents were in their vehicles when the El Reno tornado-storm rolled in.

Tens of thousands of people took to the roads to escape the approaching twister.

At least ten of those folks died (reported two of those from flash flooding) and more than one hundred people were hurt.

What those news stories fail to point out is that at least one broadcast TV news station actually encouraged people to escape the storm via their cars.

We were watching KFOR-TV4 online when the tornado dropped from the boiling skies several miles southwest of El Reno on Friday evening.

As the funnel itself grew from a series of 'dancing fingers' into a cone- then a wedge shape- both the storm chasers and the on-air staff were growing increasingly concerned and rightly so.

The tornado was on the southern flank of a high-precipitation (HP) supercell- but new storm cells were also rapidly building southwest of this storm..

Not only did that not allow news helicopters (KWTV's-KFOR's GyroCam bird was down) a closer and clearer view of the existing tornado- but the new storms were disturbing wind flows into and out of the the El Reno tornado storm.

The tornadic circulation shifted southeast toward Union City in a matter of a couple of minutes and quickly became wraped in rain.

After several more minutes the circulation- with new vortices spinning up anywhere around the approximately mile-diameter wall cloud- starts shifting left (eastward) again.

Suddenly as it approached U.S. 81 a few miles south of El Reno- the tornado shifted sharply left- to the northeast.

This is where the Weather Channel crew got caught.

Just a mile or two southeast of El Reno- the tornado danced along and either side of Interstate 40 toward Yukon.  

At one point during KFOR's 'wall to wall' storm coverage- KFOR's "chief meteorologist" Mike Morgan said on the air "if you can't get underground- try to outrun the tornado."

That's right- get in your vehicle and flee the approaching storm.

(Here's a link to a WASHINGTON POST newspaper story that tells more.)

That might reasonably be done pre-1994 ('Twister') in rural areas with good north-south roads... 

Now- even in a rural area it's a crapshoot with all the storm chaser traffic.

In a large metropolitan area- trying to outrun a tornado could result in being in your coffin with four wheels.

Pre-tornado wind and rain can close roads vital to ones' escape.

Wrecks from panicky drivers can also constrict/close those roadways.

As seen in OKC on Friday- the huge number of people in their vehicles trying to get away from the storm on top of the later afternoon drive-time commuters made many of the freeways and major arterials low-speed parking lots.

Fortunately the large tornado had broken up into two smaller- less intense (but still deadly) tornadoes as it ground along I-40 north of the OKC airport and through southern and southeastern Oklahoma City.

The safest and surest way to outrun a tornado is as soon as a tornado watch is issued where you live- get in your vehicle- drive to the airport- and take a flight to a state where no tornadoes are forecast.

Otherwise- HAVE a below ground level storm shelter at your disposal or pre-plan where one close by might be.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tornado Strikes Western Through Northern Suburbs of St. Louis

Damage has been reported at the Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights- with other damage also  reported in Earth City- west of Lambert- STL airport..

There was some damage reported at Lambert- but none at the passenger terminals.

Lambert/STL was closed as of 10:15 pm due to "debris on the airfield-" but should reopen by Saturday morning...

In Earth City- it was reported a Holiday Inn Express hotel just south of I-70 and east of the casino was struck.

The "roof" was reportedly blown off parts of the Hollywood Casino and patrons were evacuated.

There are reported a number of tractor-trailer trucks in and around Metro St. Louis that were overturned by strong winds as well as the tornado.

There are homes damaged in St. Peters- as well as a large number of trees and power lines down.

As of 9:30 pm- "no reports of serious injuries" as relayed from a county official via St. Louis TV..

I-70 was closed by the MO Highway Patrol in St. Louis and St. Charles counties as of 9:30 pm Friday night.

As of 10 pm- around 100000 people in Metro St. Louis had no power.

In addition- there is a high risk for flash flooding through the night into Saturday morning in Metro St. Louis.

Live coverage HERE on FOX-2 in St. Louis.

Live coverage HERE from KSDK Newchannel 5.

The St. Louis POST-DISPATCH has a live weather chat on this link.

"Tornado Emergency" Issued for Oklahoma City - At Least 4 Dead

A large- multi-vortex tornado that formed southwest of El Reno near I-40 continues to move east toward Yukon and Oklahoma City.

The NWS has just issued a "tornado emergency" for Oklahoma City.

The tornado has changed direction at least twice- but missed El Reno to the south and east.

The tornado overturned numerous vehicles that were on I-40 and U.S. 81 near El Reno where there were injuries ... and fatalities.

One of those vehicles caught in the changing-direction tornado belonged to a Weather Channel crew.

The SUV called "Tornado Hunt 2013" became the prey on U.S. 81 south of El Reno- and was rolled several times from the highway into a field.

The crew which included Mike Bettes- who was the first reporter in Joplin after the 2011 tornado there- suffered only minor injuries.

Two fatalities were reported along I-40 when an SUV with a woman and an infant was tossed from the freeway into a field.

At 9:06 pm- two more fatalities- again in vehicles- was reported near Union City OK- southwest of OKC.

Live coverage found HERE on KFOR-4 in OKC.

That large tornado which appeared to be capable of at least EF-4 damage- continued east along I-40 through western and southern Yukon.

The funnel itself was mostly rain-wrapped as it entered the western part of OKC- where the tornado's intensity lessened.

Smaller tornadoes were also reported further south in- of all places- Moore.

The initial tornado storm missed the Tinker Air Force base to the south before moving near Shawnee and eastward.

On top of the tornado- many areas in and around Oklahoma City suffered from flash flooding with reports of more than 6 inches of rain in several hours.

As of 9:45 pm- more than 65000 people in and around OKC had no electricity.

By 10 pm Friday night- a state emergency management official stated the death toll had reached five- with more than 70 people injured..

On Saturday morning- the death toll had increased to nine- with several people still missing- and the injured approaching 100.

On Sunday evening- Oklahoma officials are reporting 13 people died from the tornadoes and flash flooding- with eight people still unaccounted for after taking refuge in drainage ditches that flooded.

With the discovery of a female child's body along a creek Monday afternoon- the death toll from the May 31 tornado and flash flooding in Metro Oklahoma City stood at 15- with at least five people still missing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Large Tornadoes in Northeastern and Central Kansas

A Tornado Watch- No. 233- continues until 10 pm for much of the eastern half of Kansas and the northern half of Missouri...

All of Metro KC is included...

This large tornado struck around 4:15 pm near Corning KS..

A home and some outbuildings were heavily damaged- but no one was hurt.

More than 5 inches of rain fell with this slow-moving storm over southern and eastern Nemaha county.

This large tornado is on the ground north-northwest of Salina KS..

No damage or injuries reported as the twister stayed virtually stationary for more than 30 minutes Tuesday evening.

The Metro Kansas City portion of Tornado Watch #233 was cancelled around 8:30 pm..

CSW WEATHER: Tornado Watch No. 233 Includes Metro Kansas City Until 10 PM

   225 PM CDT TUE MAY 28 2013




   APPANOOSE            CLARKE              DAVIS               
   DECATUR              DES MOINES          FREMONT             
   HENRY                IOWA                JEFFERSON           
   JOHNSON              KEOKUK              LEE                 
   LOUISA               LUCAS               MAHASKA             
   MARION               MONROE              MUSCATINE           
   PAGE                 RINGGOLD            TAYLOR              
   UNION                VAN BUREN           WAPELLO             
   WASHINGTON           WAYNE               



   ATCHISON             BROWN               CLAY                
   CLOUD                COFFEY              DICKINSON           
   DONIPHAN             DOUGLAS             FRANKLIN            
   GEARY                JACKSON             JEFFERSON           
   JOHNSON              LEAVENWORTH         LINN                
   LYON                 MARSHALL            MIAMI               
   MORRIS               NEMAHA              OSAGE               
   OTTAWA               POTTAWATOMIE        REPUBLIC            
   RILEY                SALINE              SHAWNEE             
   WABAUNSEE            WASHINGTON          WYANDOTTE           



   ADAIR                ANDREW              ATCHISON            
   AUDRAIN              BATES               BOONE               
   BUCHANAN             CALDWELL            CALLAWAY            
   CARROLL              CASS                CHARITON            
   CLARK                CLAY                CLINTON             
   COLE                 COOPER              DAVIESS             
   DEKALB               GENTRY              GRUNDY              
   HARRISON             HENRY               HOLT                
   HOWARD               JACKSON             JOHNSON             
   KNOX                 LAFAYETTE           LEWIS               
   LINN                 LIVINGSTON          MACON               
   MARION               MERCER              MONITEAU            
   MONROE               NODAWAY             PETTIS              
   PLATTE               PUTNAM              RALLS               
   RANDOLPH             RAY                 SALINE              
   SCHUYLER             SCOTLAND            SHELBY              
   SULLIVAN             WORTH               



   GAGE                 JEFFERSON           JOHNSON             
   NEMAHA               OTOE                PAWNEE