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Summary

 

A series of severe thunderstorms produced tornadoes, large hail, damaging winds and flash flooding in  Oklahoma western north Texas during the afternoon and evening hours of May 6th. Several supercell thunderstorm tracked through parts of the I-44 corridor in Caddo, Grady, McClain and Cleveland counties, and produced several tornadoes in the area. These slow-moving storms also dropped 1 to 3+ inches of rain over areas that had received heavy rains of 2 to 4+ inches on May 5th, and severe flash flooding occurred in several locations.

The driver for this event was a shortwave moving through the central plains. With upwards of 2000 joules of CAPE, around 30 knots of effective bulk shear, and southeast winds advecting moisture into the area, the atmospheric environment was primed for severe weather.

The first signs of organized convective weather began to show up around noon just north of Lawton, with the first severe thunderstorm warning being issued at 12:46 PM CDT. This storm wavered a bit before ramping up again. The first tornado warning of the day was issued at 3:45 PM CDT. Eight minutes later, we received a report of a tornado 4 miles NW of Cyril.

For the next hour or so, this storm continued to be the main event before convection started developing in north central Oklahoma. Both areas of storms contained tornadic activity. More storms fired off south of the Red River moving northeastward into southern Oklahoma. Probably the most memorable part of the event was around 5:30 PM CDT when a supercell entered central Oklahoma and dropped a tornado just a few miles northwest of Norman.

Storms continued overnight, eventually merging into a complex after midnight and moving eastward. The last severe warning for this event was issued at 5:06 AM CDT just north of Burkburnett. The next event would follow shortly on its tail.

Heavy rainfall was also a major player in this event. Some parts of central Oklahoma received up to 4 to 7 inches of rain, triggering several flash flood warnings late that night. Elsewhere around the CWA, rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches were not uncommon.

Tornado Damage Path Maps

Damage Path Map for the May 6, 2015 Norman, OK Tornado Damage Path Map for the May 6, 2015 Southeast Oklahoma City, OK Tornado
Damage Path Map for the May 6, 2015 Bridge Creek, OK Tornado  
 

GIS Resources

Storm Reports and Photos

 

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