Tornadoes in northern Oklahoma, May 19, 2010

By: Dr. Rob Carver , 9:41 AM GMT on May 20, 2010

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It was a busy day for the Storm Prediction Center and NWS Forecast offices in Texas and Oklahoma on May 19. There were 25 tornado reports, 8 reports of damaging winds, and 23 hail reports (The largest reported was 3.25 inches). Preliminary news reports suggest there was one injury associated with the severe weather when a tractor-trailer rig was blown over by winds. Of the NWS offices responsible for Oklahoma, Norman issued 24 tornado warnings, Amarillo 16, and Tulsa 12.

Two well-defined supercells were responsible for most of the tornado reports in Oklahoma. Here's how they looked on radar:

Reflectivity image from KTLX at 2301Z May 19 2010.
The reflectivity image shows two classic supercells with hook echoes in northern Oklahoma. Both storms have strong velocity shear couplets in the Doppler velocity radar image, indicating they both have mesocyclones.


Storm-relative velocity image from KTLX at 2301Z May 19 2010.

Video of three of the May 19 tornadoes is available on YouTube, and I've embedded it here.
Hennessey, OK Tornado

This is a very nice cone tornado. It reminds me of the Sitka, KS 1999 tornado which I saw while participating in SubVortex. The clear area behind and to the left of the tornado/wall cloud is the rear-flank downdraft.

Mulhall, OK Tornado


Stillwater, OK Tornado

On May 10, a tornado threatened the southern edge of OU's campus. On May 19, it was Oklahoma State's turn. This is pretty good for cell phone video.

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2. Barefootontherocks
4:52 PM GMT on May 20, 2010
Two well-defined supercells were responsible for most of the tornado reports in Oklahoma.

A South Central OK cell we should not neglect...

This supercell originated off the dryline in SW OK-somewhere near or S and W of Duncan. Did some damage in Garvin and Murray counties after it crossed I-35. Four tornado reports from rural areas including multivortex. Officials are out looking for damages today per The Oklahoman, OKC daily paper.


image credit: NWS Norman
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 147 Comments: 17551
1. charlesimages
10:03 AM GMT on May 20, 2010
If I were a funded individual, I'd go chase every time an outbreak occurred. So glad we have many chasers out there, I am lucky to be friends with a BUNCH of people who chase. Thanks for the post! Been following this year's severe weather like a hawk, hoping one day we get some here in MI where I can afford to do some limited chasing... GRlevel3 is an amazing tool too BTW. I always use it!
Member Since: May 25, 2006 Posts: 347 Comments: 29278

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About rcarver

Rob is the Research and Development Scientist for Weather Underground. He has a Ph.D. in meteorology from Penn State University.