May 2013 Tornado Coverage

Deadly tornados tore through several Oklahoma communities on May 19, 20 and 31, 2013. These are the stories of natural disaster and its aftermath, and of communities healing and recovering.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

$500 Million to $5 Billion: What’s Behind The Wide Ranging Tornado Cost Estimates?

A man on top of a house surveying tornado damage in Moore, Okla..
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Following a major disaster like the Moore tornado on May 20th, news reporters want answers, and they don’t want to wait.

How many people were killed? How many injured? How much damage did the storm cause, and how much will it cost? Answers to the first three questions may not come immediately, but within a few days, they usually can be addressed fairly accurately.

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Severe Storms
1:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

El Reno Tornado, Now EF5, Sets Record

The May 31 El Reno tornado sets a record with its 2.6 mile width. Meteorlogits upgrade strength to EF5.
Norman Forecast Office National Weather Service

Meteorologists have upgraded the tornado that hit Canadian County, west of Oklahoma City, as an EF5, the top of the ratings. The width of the tornado, 2.6 miles, is being called the widest ever recorded.

The upgrade came after researchers from the University of Oklahoma and meteorologists with the National Weather Service evaluated the tornado using information from a mobile research radar.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:46 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What Would Happen if an F5 Tornado Hit Oklahoma’s Cushing Oil Hub?

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:38 pm

It’s hard to imagine a worse setting: A seemingly endless horizon of giant steel storage tanks holding 50 million barrels of crude oil, a spiderweb of pipelines, pumps, compressors and terminals, and a critical confluence of big corporations and international energy market money.

And a city of about 8,000 nearby.

Law enforcement has long feared the Cushing oil terminal would make an ideal target of terrorists, but what about a tornado? Just two weeks before the May 20 tornados devastated Moore, authorities held a worst-case-scenario F5 twister drill in Cushing.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Why Chase Tornadoes? To Save Lives, Not To 'Die Ourselves'

Friday's storm, which produced a mile-wide tornado, as it neared El Reno, Okla.
Richard Rowe Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 7:10 am

  • Josh Wurman on why scientists get close to tornadoes
  • Josh Wurman on how the community is reacting to three storm chasers' deaths

The deaths Friday of veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their friend Carl Young when a tornado near El Reno, Okla., pummeled their vehicle has raised some questions:

-- Why do storm chasers do what they do?

-- Do the benefits outweigh the dangers?

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1:14 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

OU Meteorology Professor On His Friend Tim Samaras

Lead in text: 
University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Howard Bluestein reflects on his friend Tim Samaras, who died Friday in El Reno.
Another round of tornadoes tore through Oklahoma on Friday night. While all of those storm videos popping up on YouTube and television are incredible to watch, they're also obviously very dangerous to film. Thirteen people died in Friday's tornadoes, including veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young.

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