Oklahoma twister tracked path of 1999 tornado (Update)

May 20, 2013 by Malcolm Ritter
In this Tuesday, May 4, 1999, photo, a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., lays in ruins pm Tuesday, May 4, 1999, after a tornado flattened many houses and buildings in central Oklahoma, Monday, night. The powerful tornado in suburban Oklahoma City Monday, May 20, 2013, loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter, File)

Monday's powerful tornado in suburban Oklahoma City loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999.

The National Weather Service estimated that the storm that struck Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday had wind speeds of up to 200 mph (320 kph), and was at least a half-mile (800 meters) wide. The 1999 storm had winds clocked at 300 mph (480 kph), according to the weather service website, and it destroyed or damaged more than 8,000 homes, killing at least two people.

Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Kansas City, Missouri, said it's unusual for two such powerful tornadoes to track roughly the same path. The 1999 twister was part of a two-day outbreak sweeping mostly across central Oklahoma—similar to the past two days.

The weather service has tentatively classified the Moore twister's wind speeds as an EF4 on a 5-point scale. Angle said less than 1 percent of all tornadoes reach EF4 or EF5.

The thunderstorm developed in an area where warm moist air rose into cooler air. Winds in the area caused the storm to rotate, and that rotation promoted the development of a tornado. The most destructive and deadly tornadoes develop from rotating thunderstorms.

This combination of Associated Press photos shows left, a neighborhood in Moore, Okla., in ruins on Tuesday, May 4, 1999, after a tornado flattened many houses and buildings in central Oklahoma, and right, flattened houses in Moore on Monday, May 20, 2013. Monday's powerful tornado in suburban Oklahoma City loosely followed the path of a killer twister that slammed the region in May 1999. (AP Photo)

The biggest known tornado was nearly 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) wide at its peak width, which the weather service describes as near the maximum size for a tornado. It struck Hallam, Nebraska, in May 2004.

The deadliest tornado, which struck March 18, 1925, killed 695 people in Illinois, Missouri and Indiana.

Deaths from twisters have been declining in recent years because of improved forecasts and increased awareness by people living in tornado-prone areas, especially in smaller and rural communities.

Explore further: NWS: NE Mississippi tornado was highest-rated EF-5

Related Stories

NWS: NE Mississippi tornado was highest-rated EF-5

April 30, 2011

(AP) -- At least one of the massive tornadoes that killed hundreds across the South this week was a devastating EF-5 storm, according to an analysis Friday by the National Weather Service, which suspects several others also ...

GOES satellite movie tracked tornadic Texas trouble

April 4, 2012

A powerful weather system moved through eastern Texas and dropped at least 15 tornadoes in the Dallas suburbs. NASA created an animation of data from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite that shows the frontal system moving through the ...

Scientists investigate twisters like detectives

April 30, 2011

(AP) -- Weather scientists are retracing the footprints of this week's monstrous tornadoes the way detectives would investigate a crime scene: talking to witnesses, watching surveillance video and even taking the measurements ...

Repeat deadly storms 'unusual but not unknown'

May 24, 2011

(AP) -- Weather experts said it's unusual for deadly tornadoes to develop a few weeks apart in the U.S. But what made the two storm systems that barreled through a Missouri city and the South within the last month so rare ...

Recommended for you

Climate change made Harvey rainfall 15 percent more intense

December 14, 2017

A team of scientists from World Weather Attribution, including researchers from Rice University and other institutions in the United States and Europe, have found that human-caused climate change made the record rainfall ...

Hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts infant health

December 13, 2017

From North Dakota to Ohio to Pennsylvania, hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has transformed small towns into energy powerhouses. While some see the new energy boom as benefiting the local economy and decreasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.