Category Archives: Tornadoes

Holiday Inn in Earth City, MO – “No casualties” – St Louis County OEM

There are multiple rumors on Twitter – as of yet unconfirmed – that KMOV-TV has reported a “mass casualties” event at a Holiday Inn in Earth City, MO as a result of the storms that are going through St Louis on the evening of May 31, 2013. There is not yet any photo evidence or any web page from a reliable source to confirm this.

Let’s hope this is just an Internet rumor.

News sources that would be likely to print a story or cover it: KMOV-TV St Louis. KMOV has a live stream, which appears to be overloaded – I’m getting video but no audio.

Listening also to KMOX, CBS news radio in St Louis. They are reading from Twitter, “I’m getting very skeptical about Twitter.”

The hotel in question: Holiday Inn Airport West, Earth City MO

“No movement of I-70 in the Earth City area.” (KMOX)

 

University of Michigan softball team in severe weather in Oklahoma City on May 31, 2013

The University of Michigan softball team is in Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series games. They were caught in the May 31, 2013 tornadoes in that area. The team, along with other teams in the games took shelter in an underground parking garage.

News coverage: WXYZ/AP.

I’m listening to the local NBC affiliate, KFOR, which is doing live coverage of the Oklahoma City tornadoes (plural).

I’m following Greg Garno who is with the team reporting for the Michigan Daily.

Here’s a snapshot of the weather map, note multiple tornado cells (purple triangles) on the radar.

Okc-tornado-radar-loop-may-31-2013

Here’s preliminary tornado track maps.

2013 Moore Oklahoma tornado path map

This map from the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma (via Atlantic Cities) shows the destructive path of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of 20 May 2013. This is a preliminary map that also shows the track of a 3 May 1999 tornado that followed a very similar path.

2013-moore-oklahoma-tornado-path-map

There's too much graphic, devastating imagery from the scene which I won't include here. Dr Jeff Masters has an excellent overview of the meteorology of the event, including accounts of debris being thrown 100 miles in the air to land on Tulsa, Oklahoma.

UPDATE: The National Environmental Visualization Laboratory has this image of radar rotational velocity across the storms of that day, showing tornadic activity in darker colors. (Credit: NOAA)

1352v1_20130521-Moore_Tornado-Rotation
UPDATE: The Google Crisis Map for 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes includes a track of the tornado plus shelter information and links to other local resources. I've included a snapshot from Tuesday evening, May 21, 2013.

Google-Moore-Oklahoma-Tornado-path-track-crisis-map

UPDATE: A second National Weather Service map shows the detail of where the tornado was at its maximum intensity. (Credit: National Weather Service, Norman OK, via Facebook)

Nws-moore-tornado-path-outline-ef-5
UPDATE: The New York Times has a detailed tornado track map for the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. I've excerpted a piece of it here by way of illustration. Their article also has before and after aerial photos of the damage.

New-York-Times-Moore-Oklahoma-Tornado-Track-Map-excerpt

 

A visit to Dexter after the Dexter tornado

image from farm8.staticflickr.com

Photo: Hudson Mills Metropark golf course,  Some rights reserved by Andy Fowler.

DEXTER, Michigan. As much as possible, I tried not to be the tornado gawker. I probably failed.

Update: photo from Andy Fowler, map from National Weather Service.

Busch's was giving away water that had been donated, and cookies, to affected residents. Their store was very close to one of the neighborhoods that was worst hit (Huron Farms). With police blocking the entrance to that neighborhood, you had the feeling that the store was being exceptionally kind to its neighbors and that it was exceptionally lucky.

Second Street was worst hit in the old part of Dexter village. Every second house on the downhill side of Second had a blue tarp on part of a roof, but the uphill side had no roof damage. Several businesses on Second were damaged, including a laudromat that was completely demolished.

The tornado crossed the Norfolk Southern tracks right by the Dexter Mill. Several homes on Huron Street had blue tarps as well. The Dexter cider mill looked OK, but it was closed for the season. Damage at the Dexter Mill included large sheets of metal that had been twisted around like crumpled paper.

Downtown was completely normal with no visible damage. The Dexter Bakery smelled like a bakery that my great aunt might have taken me to 30 years ago. The Dairy Queen was serving up standard issue cones, with a long line in the unseasonably warm March summer.

Many trucks went past as I enjoyed my cone with trailers or truckbeds full of full-grown trees, cut into short logs or big chunks. Signs were up everywhere for home repair and remodeling, and a number of insurance companies had trucks or vans parked to take claims.

It was a remarkable storm, in part because of the damage, and in part because there was no loss of life. It could have been much, much worse. I am sure that residents of Dexter will be glad for construction to rebuild homes and put people's lives back towards normal.

image from www.crh.noaa.gov

Tornado path, National Weather Service. Collected from the March 2012 Dexter tornado page on Arborwiki.