After what has been an extremely slow start to the
A lot of us trackers and severe weather watchers have been surprised by how slow the American tornado season has been so far this year. Statistically, last week the numbers were well below average with only a few moderate risk days and most of them turning out to be a bust. Many of the storm chasers in the plains were beginning to wonder whether they would get any successful chasing in this year. But the past few days has turned the season on its head.
Last week, in the middle of May – the SPC began to issue risk areas in the Day 4 and Day 5 time frame, with aggressive wording and rightfully so. The conditions were beginning to take shape that would present a good chance of a multi-day tornado outbreak, primarily centered in the plains, around Oklahoma and Kansas. Saturday was the first real day of the outbreak and saw numerous storms firing around the risk area, while Sunday was similar. Though for many chasers living in the U.S, things went from exciting to scary on Monday when a large wedge tornado touched down near Moore, which is located near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tornado tore through parts of the town, causing extreme damage and destruction.
The tornado passed through an area which is no stranger to deadly tornadoes, the infamous 3 May 1999 outbreak saw one of the most notorious tornadoes of modern times tear through Moore as an, at the time F-5 tornado. The Moore tornado on Monday ripped through a local school and flattened houses in its path. The initial estimate based on early damage reports and visuals is that the tornado was an EF-4. Unfortunately, this tornado has been extremely fatal with the current report being that at least 91 people have been killed.
Storm chaser David Drummond said the following about the event:
“Quite a few of my storm chaser friends viewed the Moore tornado and it’s destruction up close and personal Monday. It was there first experience with such life changing and life ending tornado destruction. Having been there on more than one occasion, I can say I’m very glad I wasn’t there this time, and I know what your going through right now. I wish I could say your thoughts and feelings about this will get better, but it won’t. They will only fade with time, but those memories will be vivid forever like it was yesterday. You’ll doubt yourself, why you do this, and if you’ll keep going. You’ll even likely feel guilty for a while at some point. In the end, you’ll eventually come to terms with it, but make no mistake, this will change you as a person, and you will think about it every time you chase now, but eventually, you will stop thinking about it every day. I hope none of us have to see this again for a long time. To my good friend Ben Holcomb, I think today, you finally understand why I would never show you the Jarrell, TX video.”
Looking forward, the threat isn’t over yet – the severe weather risk moves towards the south east into Tuesday, 21 May 2013. This puts areas like Northern Texas into the risk area, and given what has transpired in Oklahoma over the past 24 hours, I think that vast majority of those in the risk area for this event over the next day or so, are going to be keeping a keen eye out on what is occurring in the skies above them.