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The May 31-June 1, 2013 Tornado and Flash Flooding Event

Synopsis

Much like the events of May 19th and May 20th in mid May 2013, a potent set of ingredients came together during the afternoon hours of the May 31, 2013 for a major severe weather episode over central Oklahoma. A nearly stationary front was draped from southwest to northeast through central Oklahoma, with a dryline mixing eastward into portions of west central and southwest Oklahoma by mid afternoon. During the heat of the day, extreme instability developed ahead of the dryline and south of the frontal boundary, placing Oklahoma city in a very volatile severe weather environment. Storms erupted near the dryline-front intersection by late afternoon. These storms quickly became severe with strong mid level rotation.

As the southernmost storms moved east into better moisture and instability, they rapidly became tornadic. The first tornado touched down in Kingfisher county and produced little to no damage. The second tornado, labeled the "El Reno Tornado" to form would go on to be one of the most powerful tornadoes sampled by mobile radar and also the widest known tornado on record. This tornado traveled eastward toward Union City and El Reno, producing extensive crop and property damage along the way. A total of 8 motorists were also killed by the tornado as it overtook them along U.S. Interstate Highway 40 as well as local roads south of the interstate highway and El Reno. This storm would go on to produce several other tornadoes in the Oklahoma City metro area, and a line of training supercells produced heavy rainfall and runoff that in turn caused historic flash flooding. The two images below provide some idea of the surface conditions in place.

May 31, 2013 Surface Weather Conditions Overview Map #1 May 31, 2013 Surface Weather Conditions Overview Map #2

El Reno, OK Tornado Path Map

May 31, 2013 EF3 El Reno Tornado Damage Path

Interactive Map

The map below shows the outline of the El Reno tornado (light blue polygon with dark shading), the path of the tornado center (thick black line) and times the tornado center was along that line (black and white targets).


View May 31, 2013 El Reno, OK Tornado in a larger map

Storm Observer Safety Video

El Reno: Lessons From the Most Dangerous Tornado in Storm Observing History

Storm Reports or Photos

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