Wednesday, April 24, 2013

20 years ago: April 24, 1993 East Tulsa/Catoosa tornado

April 24, 1993: F4 Tornado vs truck along Interstate 44 just east of Tulsa, Okla. The picture is from the KJRH 2NEWS archives.

One of the largest tornadoes in local history struck East Tulsa and Catoosa on this date 20 years ago. The April 24, 1993 tornado killed 7 people, and it remains the deadliest single tornado in the Tulsa area.

The pictures below are rare dashcam images taken from nearly inside the tornado. A Catoosa policer officer shot the video as he nearly drove into the huge twister. I've posted a few "screen grabs" from the video.

The tornado first formed in East Tulsa as a huge storm quickly exploded over town. Businesses, churches and homes near Memorial Drive and Garnett suffered damage as the tornado developed.

The tornado quickly intensified into a nearly mile wide, rain-wrapped F4. 7 people died at and near Bruce's Truck Stop when the tornado crossed I-44 and moved into Catoosa.

Huge hail also accompanied the storm.

Catoosa police dash cam video. Looking west at the tornado. View from 193rd and I-44 (near present day Hard Rock Casino). Due to its size and the rain, many folks didn't recognize this as a tornado.

Not realizing the dark cloud was a tornado, the officer drives toward it. He quickly turns around. Inflow wind of 80-100mph blows debris across I-44.

The officer rides out the "edge" of the tornado in his patrol car. A large advertising sign blows across the road. The dark cloud on the left is the tornado. Baseball-size hail zooms from west to east past his car.

The officer travels east along I-44 after the tornado passes. That's a large metal overhead highway sign support ripped apart by the tornado. Good thing he stopped!

Aerial view. Bruce's Truck Stop was in the direct path of the tornado. The policeman (on right side) missed the strongest wind.

Radar image of the "hook echo" from the tornado. Image is from the NWS Doppler radar located near Inola. This radar serves the Tulsa area. The tornado was put into service only one day before!
Large tornadoes are easy to see in the "Doppler" mode. The term Doppler refers to detecting wind velocity. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Night Twister: Sallisaw tornado, March 30, 2013

Power lines exploding and flashing near Sallisaw from a night time twister. The pics below are the tornado's 1 minute
life cycle.  

Tornadoes at night are the most dangerous, and this 175 yard wide tornado seen here is a perfect example.

Channel 2 and other media received an email and video from a Norman resident- I won't identify him here as he requests. While visiting family in far eastern Oklahoma, he recorded this twister which touched down 2-3 miles outside of downtown Sallisaw.

The tornado was later rated EF-1 by the Tulsa NWS as wind neared 100-110 mph. This small tornado formed then disappeared quickly.

Tornadoes at night like this one are most difficult for meteorologists and storm chasers: the twister lived on the ground briefly, lasting for one minute (a radar sweep can take 5 minutes). Also, the tornado was only visible by lightning and electricity flashes near the ground.