You are at: Weather History » Significant Weather Events » May 20, 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Main
Page

The Tornado Outbreak of May 20, 2013

A tornado outbreak occurred during the afternoon and evening hours of the May 20, 2013, and was the last day of a three-day stretch of significant severe weather. This event also produced the most deadly and devastating tornado of the year for Oklahoma and the the United States.

Several supercell thunderstorms developed during early afternoon of May 20th along a dryline in central Oklahoma. One of these storms developed near Chickasha and rapidly intensified, producing a tornado which touched down at 2:56 PM CDT on the west side of Newcastle. The tornado became violent within minutes, then tracked east-northeastward across the city of Moore and parts of south Oklahoma City for about 40 minutes before finally dissipating near Lake Stanley Draper. The tornado caused catastrophic damage in these areas, and was given a maximum rating of EF-5. The tornado claimed 23 lives, injured scores of people, and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Several other tornadoes also occurred in Stephens and Lincoln Counties during the afternoon of May 20. In addition to the tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds caused damage in many areas.

Below is a map with the preliminary damage path of the Newcastle-Moore-South OKC tornado. Contours delineate the extent of EF-0 (light blue), EF-1 (green), EF-2 (yellow), EF-3 (orange), EF-4 (red), and EF-5 (purple) damage from the survey.


View 2013-05-20 Moore Tornado in a larger map

Fast Facts

  • A rating of EF-5 has been given to the tornado that affected the Newcastle, south OKC, and Moore areas in McClain and Cleveland Counties.
  • The tornado had.a path length of 14 miles and was on the ground for 39 minutes from 2:56 PM - 3.35 PM CDT.
  • The maximum path width for the tornado was determined to be 1.1 miles.

Information Sources

  • The October 4, 1998 Tornado Outbreak Twenty-eight tornadoes occurred in central and eastern Oklahoma, including an F2 tornado which damaged parts of Moore. It was the largest autumnal outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded in Oklahoma.
  • The May 3, 1999 Tornado Outbreak This outbreak included nearly 60 tornadoes in central Oklahoma. It was the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded in Oklahoma. The first F5 tornado ever to hit a the Oklahoma City metro area killed 36 people and tore through parts of Newcastle, south OKC and Moore, OK. The damage total was estimated at $1 billion. Two F4 tornadoes also ravaged parts of Kingfisher and Logan counties.
  • Oklahoma City Area Tornadoes of May 8, 2003 The central United States experienced a record-breaking week of tornadoes from May 4 through May 10, 2003, when nearly 400 tornadoes occurred in 19 states and caused 42 deaths during the seven days. Included in this total were the tornadoes which hit the southern Oklahoma City metropolitan area on May 8, 2003 including an F4 tornado which tore through parts of Moore, Oklahoma City and Choctaw.
  • The May 10, 2010 Tornado Outbreak This outbreak produced 35 tornadoes in the NWS Norman forecast area alone, and a total of 55 tornadoes in Oklahoma. Two EF4 tornadoes struck the Oklahoma City metro area including Moore, killing 3 people and injuring over 80 others.

If you have any pictures or personal accounts of weather phenomena or storm damage, please email them to us at sr-oun.webmaster@noaa.gov or sr-oun.spotter@noaa.gov and indicate whether or not we have permission to use them on our web-page.


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.