SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
May 28, 2008

160+ tornadoes in less than a week: Why?

Posted: 12:23 PM ET

(Updated from its original posting on the AC360 Blog)

In all my years as a professional meteorologist and spending my younger years living in tornado alley, I have never witnessed anything near the unpredictable, awesome power of the tornado that crawled across Hennessey, OK on Saturday.

A tornado rips through Hennessey, Oklahoma, on Saturday destroying a hog farm in Kingfisher County.

I was watching north central Oklahoma for the threat of tornadoes and a warning was issued for Kingfisher and Garfield counties.

Next thing I know, my newsroom executive producer is running over telling me to get hooked up, we have live chopper shots of a possible tornado; they want me on the air.

We broke into programming just before 3:30p.m. EDT. Along with our CNN audience, I witnessed a large rotating wall cloud with a slight lowering. It turned into a funnel that gradually lowered to the ground and became a large, violent tornado.

It was a classic looking “stovepipe” tornado, meaning it was very straight, up and down. The clarity of the funnel was amazing. It was in the middle of a field.

Moments later, it leveled a hog farm. The roof was peeled away and debris was flying everywhere. It was an eerie feeling seeing this happen live, not knowing the status of the people that could have been in the building.

A minute later, the tornado lifts. (It turns out, there were 6 employees that were in the barn, who ran into a brick office building and all were uninjured. Most of the pigs and piglets survived, too!)

We rewind the tape, and show the tornado bearing down on the barn. Next thing we know, another tornado has formed and is on the ground. Back to live aerials.

This happened 11 more times, and miraculously the tornadoes never hit any other structures. Due to the slow movement of the parent storm, Lake Carl Blackwell was evacuated, and I-35 was shut down to allow the tornado to pass.

This undoubtedly helped save lives. Most tornadoes move much faster than this, usually somewhere between 30-40mph. They can rip along as fast as 65 mph.

The storm was a persistent supercell that didn’t stop rotating until 6 hours after the first touchdown.

The pictures were likely so good and Helicopter Pilot Mason Dunn of KWTV in Oklahoma City was likely able to stay with the storm so long, because it was out there all by itself and was moving so slowly.

There were no other storms to try and avoid or make the air more turbulent. It was an LP storm, or Low Precipitation, so, the tornado wasn’t wrapped in rain providing clear shot.

Dunn knew what he was doing. He’s a legend in the Oklahoma City area. He was in contact with his meteorologist back at the TV station the entire time.

Dunn says he has been chasing tornadoes for about 20 years, and was in awe of what he saw. I’ve had a lot of people ask me since Saturday why would he do this, isn’t it unsafe?

Won’t this draw people to the tornado instead of encouraging them to seek shelter? What Dunn and KWTV did, was a tremendous community service. Because he is trained and knew where to safely shoot the tornado, many people knew exactly where the tornado was and where it was going, giving them the best information possible to keep them safe.

Of course there is always a risk, and Dunn said despite being about 2 miles from the storm, he could feel the pull of the tornado and had to work to stay far enough away from it.

Saturday’s tornado was just one of more than 150 twisters that ripped through the nation’s midsection over 5 day’s time.

It all started on Thursday with the monster in Colorado. Friday, Kansas was hardest hit including an EF4 tornado that flattened 3 houses in Quinter. The winds were nearly 200mph! Saturday…the Hennessey tornado, and then Sunday, 5 miles from the home I grew up in, a tornado struck and caused catastrophic damage in Hugo, MN, a suburb or the Twin Cities.

A two year old was killed, that child’s sibling is in critical condition, and their Mom and Dad are in the hospital with injuries. All this, despite ample warning that the tornado was on the way, and the sirens were blaring.

Sometimes it just breaks your heart to know that no matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter how great the meteorologists in Minnesota are, no matter how much we understand the science of storms, no matter how great Doppler radar is, how great technology is… sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do except pray.

150 homes damaged, 50 destroyed.

The Holiday weekend had many Minnesotans at their cabins (that’s Lake Home to the rest of you), and authorities say the death toll and number of injuries would have likely been much worse otherwise.

This same evening, a massive tornado struck and demolished about half of the city of Parkersburg, IA. 8 people are dead from that storm. From the video I’ve seen, it doesn’t get much worse than this.

Monday, we were staring down day 5 of tornadoes.  With a bit of a respite Tuesday and Wednesday, we're expecting things to pick up again on Thursday. 

If all 167 tornadoes from the past 4 days verify, we will have seen as many tornadoes in the last 5 months as we would typically see in an entire calendar year. The same is true for the number of tornado related deaths.

Why? We don’t know for sure. Part of it is likely due to the jet stream pattern that is being influenced by La Nina (the unusual cooling of the equatorial waters in the Pacific that impacts the large scale circulation).

Another reason for our high numbers is due to all the tornadoes in February on Super Tuesday. It’s quite rare to have an outbreak like that in the middle of winter.

- Jacqui Jeras, CNN Meteorologist

Filed under: environment • meteorology • Tornadoes


Share this on:
NattFesSsally   May 24th, 2021 7:19 am ET

tadalafil cialis https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ tadalafil online tadalafil without a doctor prescription cheap cialis pills for sale


dooteoduspiffer   May 24th, 2021 1:58 pm ET

buy generic cialis online with mastercard https://cttadalafil.com/ – cialis cost cialis cost tadalafil cialis https://tadalafilol.com/


NattFesSsally   May 25th, 2021 9:09 am ET

tadalafil cialis generic tadalafil from uk tadalafil drug buy cialis https://tadalafilww.com/


totRearorbtem   May 25th, 2021 10:27 am ET

tadalafil generic where to buy tadalafil brands tadalafil cost in canada https://tadagatadalafil.com/


combigan   May 25th, 2021 3:38 pm ET

combigan generic buy brimonidine


dooteoduspiffer   May 25th, 2021 9:03 pm ET

tadalafil goodrx https://tadalafilww.com/ – tadalafil brands tadalafil dosage cialis without prescription https://tadalafilww.com/


dooteoduspiffer   May 26th, 2021 3:52 pm ET

https://tadalafilww.com/ tadalafil drug https://tadalafilww.com/ – where to buy cialis without prescription tadalafil side effects


totRearorbtem   May 26th, 2021 4:16 pm ET

best price usa tadalafil https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – where to order tadalafil tablets tadalafil blood pressure cialis at canadian pharmacy https://apcalisetadalafil.com/


NattFesSsally   May 27th, 2021 10:32 am ET

https://tadalafilol.com/ tadalafil blood pressure tadalafil tadalafil brands tadalafil side effects


trouctWonfurn   May 27th, 2021 12:00 pm ET

https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ cheap cialis pills for sale what is tadalafil tadalafil generic where to buy tadalafil price walmart


Lavonda Justice   May 28th, 2021 3:32 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

http://beyondnewhorizons.com/2009/05/high-school-grumble-2/


Toney Baldassarre   May 29th, 2021 3:52 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2006/12/stranger-than-fiction.html?showComment=1165371600000&m=0


Patrice Tromley   May 30th, 2021 4:39 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

http://awomansinvestment.blogspot.com/2009/04/


https://euroclub-th.com/   May 30th, 2021 5:35 am ET

393104 420968What other people have stated and in some uncommon cases, suicide may possibly occur. 14254


Gil Couturier   May 31st, 2021 3:17 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2004/10/rl-and-lj-worlds-collide.html


Timmy Magera   June 2nd, 2021 10:07 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

http://amusingspace.blogspot.com/2007/02/being-used.html


Brendan Dulong   June 4th, 2021 9:49 am ET

This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy


buy cialis pills   June 4th, 2021 4:38 pm ET

tadalafil warnings cialis pills tadalafil bph mechanism


tadalafil natural substitute   June 4th, 2021 11:19 pm ET

tadalafil peptides tadalafil warnings canada generic tadalafil


Sherryl Aramboles   June 5th, 2021 4:26 am ET

This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy


latest news on hydroxychloroquine   June 5th, 2021 6:13 am ET

chlorodine hydroxychloroquine coronavirus study chloroquine tablets amazon


hidroxicloroquina   June 5th, 2021 10:01 pm ET

hydroxychoriquin chloroquine new zealand who makes hydroxychloroquine win


tadalafil dosage   June 6th, 2021 1:18 am ET

mg 18 tuf best price usa tadalafil taldalafil


Maryam Buis   June 8th, 2021 1:13 am ET

This was great! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy


Latonya Killin   June 10th, 2021 4:43 am ET

This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though

https://www.linkedin.com/in/yusufhanafy


Phillip Martinek   June 12th, 2021 3:51 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs

http://adolit.blogspot.com/2007/10/wow-more-youtube-academic-literacy.html


Christoper Admas   June 12th, 2021 7:49 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs

http://myvedana.blogspot.com/2018/05/fifty-years-on.html?m=0


Jeffie Mcamis   June 13th, 2021 2:23 am ET

I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/06/happy-fathers-day-2/

http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163873


Lorretta Piao   June 13th, 2021 6:09 am ET

I don't know about you people but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/11/putting-electronic-boarding-passes-to-the-test/

http://urlm.co/g/c/f/163873


Jules Beachell   June 13th, 2021 5:02 pm ET

I don't know about you people but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/10/join-us-aviation-geek-fest-2010-at-future-of-flight/

http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2012/05/vale-doc-watson.html


Gonzalo Kemps   June 13th, 2021 8:42 pm ET

I don't know about you people but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/10/boeing-video-installing-new-sky-interior-on-boeing-737/

http://adolit.blogspot.com/2006/04/performative-disruptions-part-1.html


Taryn Knaggs   June 14th, 2021 8:14 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2004/10/more-from-aoir-list-james-howisons.html


Man Maiolo   June 15th, 2021 7:03 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs

http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2014/08/call-for-book-proposals-for-our-series.html?showComment=1505209092688


Alayna Lumm   June 18th, 2021 11:08 am ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl authors and blogs

http://whatsnewmedia.wordpress.com/2006/03/11/internet-non-discrimination-act-friend-or-foe/


Claud Schade   June 21st, 2021 4:58 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs

http://digitalbeginnings.blogspot.com/2007/07/strategic-moves.html


Marcus Mcclees   June 21st, 2021 8:27 pm ET

Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these sl websites and blogs

http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2014/08/farewell-to-jack-shallcrass-splendid.html?showComment=1479351399752


Leave Your Comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
twitter
Powered by WordPress.com VIP