10 May 2016

How to Survive A Tornado

Posted by Dan Satterfield

ok storm

From NWS Norman.

I have said it to countless people over the last 36 years: Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible if a tornado is approaching, and if there is a bathroom in the middle of the house, that’s the place to go. The photo above was taken by one of the storm survey teams from the NWS in Norman,OK today and the young man in the picture is showing where he rode out the tornado. This was an EF3 tornado. If it had been an EF 4 he probably would have been severely injured. An EF 5, and he would not have survived.

The video below of the tornado is positively terrifying, and I think it will actually be of some real value scientifically. If you look closely you can see an entire large tree, roots and all rotate around the tornado! That said, I hesitate to post it because the numerous tornado chasers in Oklahoma have clogged roads, while putting themselves in great danger, and if anyone thinks they will get rich selling this video to the media, let me tell you plainly that you will not. I doubt you will do more than get your gas money back (FYI I was on the NOAA/NSSL chase team while a student at OU, and we would never have gotten that close.). To any young students reading this, some advice:  If tornadoes fascinate you, pass your math classes and take AP calculus in high school.These are the people who have added to the scientific knowledge, and improved the warning process so much.

Marcus Diaz posted this photo to the NWS

Storm Chaser Marcus Diaz posted this photo to the NWS. This tornado near Sulphur,OK, was nearly a mile wide at one point.

The map below is a preliminary look at the tornadoes of Monday May 9,2016.


..and from the NWS Twitter account:

There is some good news about this tornado outbreak: I’ve seen no national media reports saying that they “struck without warning!”. That’s probably due to my fellow broadcast meteorologists, who have had enough of that kind of lazy journalism, and will call out those that engage in it. That includes some politicians as well, and a special mention to my colleague James Spann in Alabama who got the attention and an apology from ABC news over one incident. The NWS employees may not want to say anything, but those of us who know how good these warnings are and how difficult it is to nowcast a severe weather situation, have and will defend them. In the 36 years since I left OU, the improvement in the warnings has been nothing short of stunning.