Deadly Tornadoes Cut Through Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Carney, Norman, Bethel Acres, Shawnee)


Earlier this evening, several supercells erupted in Central Oklahoma, producing several strong to violent tornadoes.  These tornadoes impacted communities such as Edmond, Carney, Norman, Bethel Acres and Shawnee.  Much of the attention now including prayers have been focused on those impacted in a mobile home park directly in the path of the tornado where at least one fatality has occurred.

The following link goes to an interactive map showing the approximate paths of the three most significant tornadoes that impacted Central Oklahoma.  The map has a bookmark feature where you can view the Edmond, Carney and Norman to Shawnee tornadoes.  Similar tornado path maps have been very helpful and highly accurate for other significant tornadoes events over the past several years.

Click on the graphic to launch an interactive map.

Click on the graphic to launch an interactive map. The map contains bookmarks for the 3 tornadoes as well as an address lookup feature.

This information is unofficial information, but is based upon NWS Radar scans and uses the National Climate Data Center Weather/Climate Toolkit (NCDC WCT) and ESRI’s ArcGIS Online.  For official storm survey results, please follow the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma (@NWSNorman).  In the coming days, the National Weather Service will be performing storm damage surveys.  When more information is made available, I’ll be linking to those products.

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Radar Derived Storm Paths from the 4/14/2012 Tornado Outbreak


Click the Image to Open an Interactive Map Depicting Rotation Paths for Spotter Confirmed Tornadoes

[UPDATED: 4/17/2012 – 12am CT – Several National Weather Service Forecast Offices have completed preliminary storm surveys.  The product I created Saturday evening has been verifying very well, especially with the long-tracked storms.  Comparisons will be added for each tornado below.]

First off.. my thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by today’s tornadoes, especially in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa.  I’ve put together path tracks of the tornadoes based on radar data.

I hope this has helped some people today save lives, and in the days to come, I hope it helps people recover faster from the storms.

Below is an interactive map that is based on spotter confirmed significant tornadic storms.  The points on the map UNOFFICIALLY depict the most likely areas where a tornado went based on radar products from the National Weather Service.  It will likely take several days for authorities in the area to fully assess the damage, but in the mean time, I hope this helps people as a starting point.  Once official damage surveys are released, I’ll be merging them into the map. Also, please note that while the radar may indicate a continuous path, detailed damage assessments and storm surveys may end up splitting these storms into separate tornadoes.

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Operational Context – Earthquakes


When it comes to earthquakes and being aware / ready for major earthquakes, you might think of the San Andreas Fault, or places like Japan, Chile, China, Mexico or Indonesia.

However in the past year, there have been two extremely significant earthquakes in the United States that were “outliers” from previous events.  Both of these were felt over large areas and measured above 5.5 on the Richter Scale.

However, I just recently discovered an incredible post by the US Geological Service (USGS) on the Oklahoma Earthquake.  In this post at http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/oklahoma-struck-by-series-of-quakes/, the following image paints a very clear picture: Continue reading

Case Study – 11/7/2011 SW Oklahoma Tornadoes – Radar Indicated Rotation Tracks


Below are several screen captures that I’ve put together showing the locations of the rotation couplets for the SW Oklahoma tornadoes. These are usually spot on with damage surveys [UPDATE: CHECK OUT THE NWS TRACK MAP AND COMPARE IT TO THE ROTATION MAP CREATED FROM RADAR DATA – IT WORKED AGAIN!!]. We’ll see how close they are, but since all points were within 30-40 miles of the Frederick, OK radar site, they’re likely to be less than 1/4 mile off from wher damage would be expected.

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Tools for Tornado Response – Case Study from the May 24, 2011 Tornado Outbreak


2011 has been a prolific year for major tornado outbreaks.  We know of the storms that have impacted our cities and towns across the country.  We also are generally familiar with the devastating outbreaks affecting cities like Joplin, Tuscaloosa, St. Louis & Raleigh.  There is one outbreak though that many people overlooked because of the timing of the event.  This outbreak occurred in Central Oklahoma, produced 2 EF-4 tornadoes and one 60+ mile long EF-5 tornado.  However, due to the timing of the event, most of the nation’s focus was elsewhere on another community that was severely impacted.

On May 24th (2 days after Joplin), a number of tornadoes impacted central Oklahoma (NWS – Norman Event Summary).  The most powerful of these was rated as an EF-5 tornado impacting the El Reno area.  That storm was not only sampled by mobile and fixed weather radar, but the outer edges of the tornado actually were directly measured by the Oklahoma Mesonet station at El Reno (see images below).

The mesonet station measured a wind gust to 151mph (click on the photo to the left to visit the AMS blog).  There are nearly 120 stations throughout Oklahoma as a part of the Oklahoma Mesonet.  This information proves invaluable to having field verified weather observations that are directly measured.  Even though this tornado was on the ground for nearly 60 miles and had a width of 1 mile, direct measurements of this nature are not usually seen. There were 9 fatalities and nearly 200 injuries with this storm.

At nearly the same time as the El Reno/Piedmont storm was hitting those areas, two other storms were rolling through Central Oklahoma, further to the Southeast.  These two storms ended up tracking to less than ten miles from Norman Oklahoma where the National Weather Center is located – housing some of the nation’s brightest and best minds in severe weather research. Continue reading