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Flash Flood Threats in the Southeast and Rockies

Two flash flood concerns the next few days across the U.S. The continued onslaught of monsoonal heavy rain and thunderstorms will impact Colorado and New Mexico today and Wednesday. Of most concern are recent and vulnerable burn scar areas for potential debris flows. Meanwhile, a stalled front will result in repeated rounds of slow moving storms from the eastern Carolinas to southeast Georgia. Read More >




Much like the events of May 19th and May 20th in mid May 2013, a potent set of ingredients came together during the afternoon hours of the May 31, 2013 for a major severe weather episode over central Oklahoma. A nearly stationary front was draped from southwest to northeast through central Oklahoma, with a dryline mixing eastward into portions of west central and southwest Oklahoma by mid afternoon. During the heat of the day, extreme instability developed ahead of the dryline and south of the frontal boundary, placing Oklahoma city in a very volatile severe weather environment. Storms erupted near the dryline-front intersection by late afternoon. These storms quickly became severe with strong mid level rotation.

As the southernmost storms moved east into better moisture and instability, they rapidly became tornadic. The first tornado touched down in Kingfisher county and produced little to no damage. The second tornado, labeled the "El Reno Tornado" to form would go on to be one of the most powerful tornadoes sampled by mobile radar and also the widest known tornado on record. This tornado traveled eastward toward Union City and El Reno, producing extensive crop and property damage along the way. A total of 8 motorists were also killed by the tornado as it overtook them along U.S. Interstate Highway 40 as well as local roads south of the interstate highway and El Reno. This storm would go on to produce several other tornadoes in the Oklahoma City metro area, and a line of training supercells produced heavy rainfall and runoff that in turn caused historic flash flooding. The two images below provide some idea of the surface conditions in place.

May 31, 2013 Surface Weather Conditions Overview Map #1 May 31, 2013 Surface Weather Conditions Overview Map #2

El Reno, OK Tornado Path Map


May 31, 2013 EF3 El Reno Tornado Damage Path

El Reno Tornado Path Map with Centroid Times

The map below shows the outline of the El Reno tornado (white polygon with light shading), the path of the tornado center (thick pink line) and times the tornado center was along that line (black and white targets with white time labels). Click on the image to view a larger image.

May 31, 2013 El Reno Tornado Path Map with Centroid Times


Storm Observer Safety Video


El Reno: Lessons From the Most Dangerous Tornado in Storm Observing History


Storm Reports or Photos

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