The El Reno tornado of 2013

The El Reno tornado of 2013, an enormous tornado spawned on May 31st, was the biggest tornado ever recorded measuring 2.6 miles across, and was produced from a supercell that earlier produced quite a lot of tornados that previous day.

The Tornado touched down at 23:03 Universal time around 8 miles southwest of El Reno, Oklahoma. It grew at an unprecedented speed into a violent and deadly tornado. It was tracked as it went through the open landscape of Canadian County, Oklahoma. As it moved farther along its path, extreme winds of 301 mph in the vortex were reported from meteorological data. The tornado finally grew to its enormous size of 2.6 miles across as it passed by U.S. Highway 81, and later weakened as it turned northeast towards Interstate 40. At 23:43 Universal time, the tornado dissipated after being tracked for over 16 miles and lasting 40 minutes.

The tornado killed four storm chasers, killed a total of eight people, and caused the first ever deaths from a storm chasing event because of the unusual movement of the tornado. Since most storm systems move northeast, it caught many unsuspecting chasers off-guard as the tornado moved south. The TWISTEX team was flung into the air by one of the orbiting sub-vortex's as the team was heading east in their White Chevrolet Cobalt. Tim Samaras famous for his storm chasing and known as a scientist and an engineer was still buckled in his seat after the accident in a completely wrecked car. His son Paul and research assistant Carl Young was launched from the car and their bodies were found where the sub-vortex intersected them. Henderson, a resident, flashed a picture of the tornado before it intersected his car and executed him. Mike Bettes and Reed Timmer from The Weather Channel were both injured and had damage done to their car.

Rush hour traffic caused residents of Oklahoma to attempt to outrun the tornado. If the tornado continued along its path before it dissipated, it could have killed over 500 people. The risky decision of trying to outrun a tornado is not too intelligent, though, with the extreme wind speeds, it possibly prevented thousands of people from death.