Tornadoes Touch Down In The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area: National Weather Service

  on

El Reno, Okla., Storm Cell-May 31, 2013 A large storm cell that reportedly produced a multiple vortex tornado passes south of El Reno, Okla. Friday.

A couple of tornado emergencies have been declared in and around Oklahoma City Friday night, as multiple twisters have touched down in the metropolitan area, according to the National Weather Service weather-forecast office in Norman, Okla.

One of the tornadoes claimed the lives of a mother and a baby whose bodies were found near their vehicle on Interstate 40, according to the Associated Press, which cited Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph. Both small cars and large tractor-trailers were battered along the major interstate highway, which was hit during the evening rush hour, AP reported.

An indication of the power of one of the twisters -- this one in El Reno -- was its effects on the Weather Channel’s Tornado Hunt Team, whose chase vehicle took a direct hit west of Oklahoma City. “I saw my life flash before my eyes,” meteorologist Mike Bettes said in a live phone interview with the Weather Channel after the storm scooped up his team’s heavy chase SUV and threw it an estimated 200 yards. Bettes and his team members are all alive, but they are not all well, as they do have minor injuries. Bettes said the airbags deployed and everyone in the SUV had their seat belts on. Bettes also said he saw other vehicles that had been thrown around by the twister.

The weather-forecast office in Norman reported the declarations of the tornado emergencies via multiple media, including Twitter:

 

 

 

 

The declaration of a tornado emergency means that significant, widespread damage with a high likelihood of fatalities is expected to continue with a strong and violent tornado, according to the National Weather Service office in Des Moines, Iowa.

The weather-forecast office in Norman indicated at 8:15 p.m. CDT (9:15 p.m. EDT) that flash-flood risks are among the greatest threats in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area at this time, as it tweeted:

 

 

Debris associated with the twisters and downed power lines are also factors, which has led the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to tweet:

 

The Oklahoma City metro area now has been hit by deadly tornadoes twice in as many weeks: The southern reaches of the city and its suburbs of Moore and Newcastle were all struck devastating blows May 20.

This article has been brought up-to-date as of Friday at 10:55 p.m. EDT since its original publication.

Join the Discussion