Based on veloctiy data from The University of Oklahoma’s RaXpol data (Rapid-scan X-band Polarimetric radar) the El Reno tornado that hit central Oklahoma Friday (May 31, 2013) has been upgraded to an EF5 tornado, with a maximum width of 2.6 miles. This makes it the widest tornado on record in the United States, wider than the F4 Wilber-Hallam, Nebraska, tornado May 22, 2004 that held the previous record for the widest tornado on record at 2.5 miles wide. Below is an updated tornado path map from the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, showing where the widest part of the tornado was.
This tornado was double the width of the EF5 Moore, Oklahoma tornado that struck less than two weeks earlier.
Below is the Public Information Statement on the upgrade from the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORMAN OK 1206 PM CDT TUE JUN 4 2013 ...UPDATE ON MAY 31 EL RENO TORNADO... METEOROLOGISTS WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND RESEARCHERS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA CONTINUE TO INVESTIGATE INFORMATION RELATED TO THE MAY 31 EL RENO TORNADO. WITH THIS INVESTIGATION... THE TORNADO HAS BEEN UPGRADED TO AN EF5 TORNADO BASED ON VELOCITY DATA FROM THE RESEARCH MOBILE RADAR DATA FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA RAXPOL RADAR. IN ADDITION... THE WIDTH OF TORNADO WAS MEASURED BY THE MOBILE RADAR DATA TO BE 2.6 MILES AFTER THE TORNADO PASSED EAST OF US HIGHWAY 81 SOUTH OF EL RENO. THIS WIDTH IS THE WIDTH OF THE TORNADO ITSELF AND DOES NOT INCLUDE THE DAMAGING STRAIGHT-LINE WINDS NEAR THE TORNADO AS DETERMINED BY THE HIGH-RESOLUTION MOBILE RADAR DATA. THE 2.6 MILE TORNADO PATH WIDTH IS BELIEVED TO BE THE WIDEST TORNADO ON RECORD IN THE UNITED STATES. .EL RENO TORNADO RATING: EF5 PATH LENGTH /STATUTE/: 16.2 MILES PATH WIDTH /MAXIMUM/: 2.6 MILES FATALITIES: N/A INJURIES: N/A START DATE: MAY 31 2013 START TIME: 6:03 PM CDT START LOCATION: 8.3 WSW OF EL RENO /CANADIAN COUNTY /OK NEAR COURTNEY ROAD ABOUT 1 MILE NORTH OF REUTER ROAD START LAT/LON: 35.495 / -98.095 END DATE: MAY 31 2013 END TIME: 6:43 PM CDT END LOCATION: 6.2 ESE OF EL RENO /CANADIAN COUNTY /OK NEAR INTERSTATE 40 AND BANNER ROAD END LAT/LON: 35.502 / -97.848
– Jennifer Watson
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