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The 4 October 1998 Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak

At least 19 tornadoes struck the portion of Oklahoma served by the NWS Norman office. These include tornadoes in the cities of Moore and Shawnee. Seven more other tornadoes touched down in northeastern Oklahoma in the area served by the NWS office in Tulsa.

Tornado

This includes only the tornadoes in the Norman County Warning Area (highlighted in white above)

Tornado Timeline on October 4, 1998
Tornado
ID
Time County Location Intensity Length (miles)
A1 3:25-3:43 Woods/Alfalfa 11 SSW Dacoma - 4 NW of Carmen F2 ~10 miles
A2 4:05 Alfalfa 5 SE Cherokee F0 short
A3 5:04 Grant 5 W Medford F0 short
B1 5:38-5:41 Blaine 8 SW - 6 SW Watonga F0 1.5 miles
B2 5:50-6:12 Blaine 3 SW Watonga - 9 ENE Watonga F2 12 miles
C1 6:14 Comanche Just north of Lake Lawtonka (About 5 N Medicine Park) F0 short
B3 6:28-6:42 Kingfisher 6 SW Dover - 2 SE Dover F1 7 miles
B4 6:47-6:56 Payne/Noble Lake Carl Blackwell - just east of Lake McMurtry (10 W Stillwater - 6 NW Stillwater) F1 6 miles
C2 6:45 Caddo 1 NE Cyril F0 1/2 mile
C3 6:54-6:55 Grady 9 WSW Ninnekah - 7 WSW Ninnekah F2 2 miles
C4 8:15-8:21 Grady/McClain 4 NW Blanchard - just SW of Newcastle F2 5 miles
C5 8:26-8:28 McClain/Cleveland Extreme north Newcastle into extreme SW OKC F0 1.5 miles
C6 8:34-8:41 Cleveland Moore F2 3 miles
C7 9:37-9:40 Lincoln 4 SE Meeker - 5 E Meeker F2 3 miles
C8 9:45-9:52 Lincoln 7 W Prague - 4 NW Prague F2 6 miles
D1 9:50-9:55 Pottawatomie NW Shawnee F1 3 miles
C9 9:52-10:08 Lincoln 6 NW Prague - 7 NNE Prague F1 8 miles
D2 9:58-10:00 Pottawatomie SE Shawnee F1 2 miles
D3 10:08-10:25 Seminole/ Pottawatomie 5 WNW of Little - Center View - 3 SE Prague F3 10 miles

Storm A Tornadoes

Tornado A1: 11 SSW Dacoma to 4 NW Carmen

  • Time: 3:25-3:43 P.M.
  • Length: approximately 10 miles
  • Intensity: F2
  • A media storm chaser observed this tornado touch down in southeastern Woods County 10 miles west of Aline, or 11 miles south-southwest of Dacoma. This tornado was a multiple vortex tornado. It became less visible as it moved northeast and became wrapped in rain. A gas plant west of Carmen was damaged and an adjacent modular home destroyed. Spotters observed the tornado again 4 miles northwest of Carmen.

Tornado A2: Southeast of Cherokee

  • Time: 4:05 P.M.
  • Length: short
  • Width: narrow
  • Intensity: F0
  • A small tornado was observed 5 miles southeast of Cherokee with no known damage.

Tornado A3: West of Medford

  • Time: 5:04 P.M.
  • Length: short
  • Width: narrow
  • Intensity: F0
  • A small tornado was observed 5 miles west of Medford with no known damage.

Storm B Tornadoes

Tornado B1: 8 SW Watonga to 6 SW Watonga

  • Time: 5:38-5:41 P.M.
  • Length: 1.5 miles
  • Intensity: F0
  • A tornado was observed 8 miles southwest of Watonga moving northeast for approximately 3 minutes.

Tornado B2: 3 SW Watonga to 9 ENE Watonga

  • Time: 5:50-6:12 P.M.
  • Length: 12 miles
  • Width: 200 yards
  • Intensity: F2
  • This tornado touched down 2.5 miles southwest of Watonga and crossed US-270/281 just two miles south of Watonga. The tornado continued to the north-northeast and finally dissipated about 9 miles east-northeast of Watonga. At least three homes suffered significant damage, one of which had its roof completely removed.

Tornado B3: 6 SW Dover to 2 SE Dover

  • Time: 6:28-6:42 P.M.
  • Length: 7 miles
  • Width: 100 yards
  • Intensity: F1
  • This tornado touched down approximately 6 miles southwest of Dover and moved east-northeast to 2 miles southeast of Dover. Damage was primarily to trees as few structures were in the path of this tornado.

Tornado B4: Lake Carl Blackwell/Lake McMurtry

  • Time: 6:47-6:56 P.M.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Intensity: F1
  • This tornado touched down on or just south of Lake Carl Blackwell, or about 10 miles west of Stillwater, and was observed by numerous people in and near Stillwater. The tornado moved northeast over the lake, crossed into extreme southern Noble County, and over the south part of Lake McMurtry. The tornado moved off of this lake and heavily damaged a mobile home just east of Lake McMurtry.

Storm C Tornadoes (C1 - C6)

Tornado C1: 5 N Medicine Park

  • Time: 6:14 P.M.
  • Length: short
  • Intensity: F0
  • An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper reported a tornado north of Lake Lawtonka in northern Comanche County, or about 5 miles north of Medicine Park. The tornado only touched down briefly and no reports of damage have been received.

Tornado C2: Cyril

  • Time: 6:45 P.M.
  • Length: 0.5 mile
  • Width: 25 yards
  • Intensity: F0
  • This tornado touched down just west of the intersection of US-277 and SH-8 and moved east for one-half mile causing very light damage in the extreme northeastern portion of Cyril.

Tornado C3: 9 WSW Ninnekah to 7 WSW Ninnekah

  • Time: 6:54-6:55 P.M.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Intensity: F2
  • A tornado was observed northwest of Interstate 44 for approximately one minute. Emergency management officials report the destruction of mobile homes to the west-southwest of Ninnekah.

Tornado C4: 4 NW Blanchard to 2 SSW Newcastle

  • Time: 8:15-8:21 P.M.
  • Length: 5 miles
  • Width: 100 yards
  • Intensity: F2
  • This tornado touched down in Grady County, 4 miles northwest of Blanchard, damaging several mobile homes and outbuildings, destroying one completely. Scattered tree damage continued for 5 miles into McClain county just to the southwest of the Newcastle city limits. Wind damage continued into the south part of Newcastle causing damage to trees and power lines.

Tornado C5: Canadian River Valley

  • Time: 8:26-8:28 P.M.
  • Length: 1.5 miles
  • Width: 33 yards
  • Intensity: F0
  • A tornado was observed by people from Norman, Moore and Newcastle. Survey teams indicate the tornado may have touched down just northeast of the intersection of I-44 and North 32nd Street in Newcastle, and moved north into southwest Oklahoma City dissipating just southwest of SW 149th Street and Meridian Avenue. Damage was primarily to trees.

Tornado C6: Moore

  • Time: 8:36-8:41 P.M.
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Maximum width: 1/3 mile
  • Intensity: F2
  • The Moore tornado touched down just east of Santa Fe Ave about 1/2 mile north of SW 19th Ave. The tornado travelled north, then north-northeast and dissipated just west of Interstate 35 about 1/2 mile north of NW 27th Ave. The most intense damage was along NW 12th Ave to the west of Janeway where the F2 damage occurred. More information on the Moore tornado is available.

Storm C Tornadoes (C7-C9) and Storm D Tornadoes

Map

  • Key:
  • Dark Green: Approximate area of F0 damage
  • Bright Green: Approximate area of F1 damage
  • Light Blue: Approximate area of F2 damage
  • Yellow: Approximate area of F3 damage

Tornado C7: 4 SE Meeker to 5 E Meeker

  • Time: 9:37-9:40 P.M.
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Intensity: F2
  • The tornado touched down 4 miles southeast of Meeker and moved north- northeast crossing US-62. A number of homes were partially unroofed by this tornado.

Tornado C8: 7 W Prague to 4 NW Prague

  • Time: 9:45-9:52 P.M.
  • Length: 6 miles
  • Intensity: F2
  • This tornado touched down 7 miles west of Prague and moved northeast for about 6 miles, also crossing US-62. F2 damage was inflicted to a mobile home that was completely destroyed.

Tornado D1: Northwest Shawnee

  • Time: 9:50-9:55 P.M.
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Width: 100 yards
  • Intensity: F1
  • This tornado touched down just east of highway 177 between 45th Street and MacArthur Road. It was on the ground intermittently as it traveled east- northeast before lifting just southwest of Interstate 40 and Harrison St.

Tornado C9: 6 NW Prague to 7 NNE Prague

  • Time: 9:52-10:08 P.M.
  • Length: 8 miles
  • Intensity: F1
  • This tornado touched down 6 miles northwest of Prague and moved east-northeast for 8 miles crossing state highway 39 to the north of Prague. A mobile home was lifted off blocks, carried 100 yards and destroyed.

Tornado D2: Southeast Shawnee

  • Time: 9:58-10:00 P.M.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Width: 100 yards
  • Intensity: F1
  • This tornado touched down very close to downtown Shawnee and traveled east-northeast before lifting in an open area just south of highway 3E about 2 miles east of downtown Shawnee.

Tornado D3: 5 WNW Little: Center View to 3 SE Prague

  • Time: 10:08-10:25 P.M.
  • Length: 10 miles
  • Intensity: F3
  • This tornado touched down 5 miles west-northwest of Little in northwest Seminole County and moved northeast. The tornado crossed Interstate 40 overturning a semi truck before crossing the North Canadian River into Pottawatomie County. The tornado struck the community of Center View which is along highway 99 about 4 miles south of Prague. Numerous homes and structures were struck, causing significant damage. The F3 intensity was in this area where one home lost its roof and some exterior walls. The tornado lifted just south of the Lincoln County line.

    Straight line wind damage also occurred in the cities of Shawnee, Prague and Newcastle.

 


Radar images

TIME
(CDT)
Reflectivity Storm Relative velocity Map Base Velocity Description
3:26 Refl SRM   Onset of the Carmen tornado
5:54 Refl SRM   During the Watonga tornado
6:14 Refl SRM   During the Lake Lawtonka tornado
6:29 Refl SRM   The beginning of the Dover tornado
6:47 Refl SRM   The Dover tornado had just dissipated, the Lake Carl Blackwell tornado was just beginning west of Stillwater, and the brief Cyril tornado had occurred just 2 minutes before.
6:57 Refl SRM   A tornado had just occurred WSW of Ninnekah (SW of Chickasha)
8:17 Refl SRM   During the tornado north of Blanchard
8:31 Refl SRM   Just after the tornado north of Newcastle, and just before the Moore tornado
8:36 Refl SRM   The Moore Tornado
9:11 Refl   Vel Very strong winds occurring between McLoud and Shawnee
9:36 Refl SRM   Just before a tornado touches down southeast of Meeker
9:46 Refl SRM   A tornado is occurring west of Prague
9:50 Refl SRM   The same tornado is now northwest of Prague, and another has just begun on the northwest side of Shawnee
9:55 Refl SRM   The tornado in Shawnee is dissipating while another tornado has formed northwest of Prague
10:00 Refl SRM   A second tornado is occurring now on the southeast side of Shawnee, while the tornado northwest of Prague continues.
10:05 Refl SRM   The tornado north of Prague continues
10:10 Refl     The tornado has dissipated to the north-northeast of Prague, but the strongest tornado of the evening has just formed west-northwest of Little
10:15 Refl SRM   The tornado is about to move northeast into Pottawatomie County.
10:20 Refl SRM   The community of Center View is being struck with a strong tornado.

Credits and Acknowledgments

Thanks to Greg Stumpf, Daphne LaDue and Peter Laws of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, Jim LaDue, Mark Fresch, Bob Lee and John Ferree of the Operational Support Facility, David Dowell of the University of Oklahoma, Roger Edwards of the Storm Prediction Center, John Finch of NWS/Wichita, Gary England and Val Castor who all provided information about these storms and helped with surveys. Mike Branick, Chris Buonanno and Doug Speheger conducted surveys for NWS/Norman. Many thanks to all of the Emergency Management agencies who gave reports on the night of the October 4, 1998 and also helped with the storm surveys, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and other local agencies in the communities that were affected.


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