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El Reno OK Tornado Widest on Record

The 2.6 mile wide F5 tornado that struck the Oklahoma City area on Friday, May 31 was the widest ever observed in the U.S. according to the National Weather Service.
The 2.6 mile wide EF5 tornado that struck the Oklahoma City area on Friday, May 31 was the widest twister ever observed in the U.S. according to the National Weather Service.

The Norman, Oklahoma NWS (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/oun/) released preliminary data Tuesday showing that the "El Reno" tornado was on the ground near Interstate 40 for a distance of 16.2 miles and had a maximum width of 2.6 miles or 13,728-feet wide.

It would take 45 and 3/4 football fields placed goal line to goal line to stretch across 2.6 miles.

For further reference, a place you might be familiar with, Yosemite Valley, is 7.5 miles long and averages one mile wide.




Data shows that the huge EF5 tornado had maximum wind speeds of 295 mph.

The tornado and flooding rainfall killed 19 people near Oklahoma City Friday evening including three storm chasers; Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young.

I interviewed Tim Samaras about tornado chasing while I was working as a television meteorologist in Denver, CO.

Tim was a superb scientist who invented conical-shaped probes about the size of a trash can lid that could be placed in a tornado's path to collect data.

He was a careful and cautious storm chasing scientist and his death was a shock to the weather community.

Here's a link to some of Tim's amazing videos on the National Geographic website: http://tinyurl.com/m2zre49

I like to extend my condolences to Tim's wife and family.

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