The highest recorded tornado wind speed was a 1999 Oklahoma storm that clocked 302 mph.
Oklahoma City has seen over 100 known tornado strikes.
Three out of every four tornadoes on Earth occur in the United States.
Currently in what is normally peak tornado season, the United States is experiencing a year with an unusually low number of tornadoes. Greg Carbin, the man in charge at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) says it’s “likely the slowest start to tornado activity in any year in the modern record, and possibly nearly a century!”
The previous two years, 2012 and 2013, were both below average tornado years.
From what I gather, our low number of tornadoes is likely a result of the colder than normal winter some parts of the country is struggling to get out of.
My forecast: If an extensive tornado outbreak occurs or if there are tornadoes that cause widespread significant damage, there will be attempts to connect them to climate change and/or global warming.
That seems the pattern lately. If there’s a weather related calamity, blame global warming.
The widest tornado in recorded history, the 2013 El Reno tornado, occurred over rural areas of central Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. The tornado was measured by radar at 2.6 miles (4.2 km) wide. It’s size confused observers, its mammoth proportions containing orbiting subvortices larger than average tornadoes. It was a worst case scenario for storm chaser teams – abrupt changes in direction, rapid forward acceleration from about 20 mph to as high as 55 mph. Several professional and amateur chasers were impacted. Three died: Tim Samaras, an autodidact engineer who founded a field research team called Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in Tornadoes EXperiment (TWISTEX) which sought to better understand tornadoes, Paul Samaras, Tim’s son (photographer and videographer) and Carl Young (meteorologist). The three were the first fatalities ever related to storm chaser activities.
Mesocyclone tornado NOAA
Radar Reflectivity of a tornado-producing supercell south of Tipton, OK November 2011; National Weather Service
Tim Samaras’ work was funded in large part by the National Geographic Society which awarded him 18 grants for his field work.