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Satellites See Storm System that Created Moore, Okla., Tornado

On May 20, 2013, NASA and NOAA satellites observed the system that generated severe weather in the south central United States and spawned the Moore, Okla., tornado.

   
             
   

On May 20, 2013, a supercell thunderstorm in central Oklahoma spawned a destructive tornado that passed just south of Oklahoma City. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this image of the storm at 2:40 p.m. local time (19:40 UTC). The red line depicts the tornado's track. The twister touched down west of Newcastle at 2:56 p.m. and moved northeast toward Moore, where it caused dozens of deaths and widespread destruction. The tornado had dissipated by 3:36 p.m., after traveling approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers).
Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA Goddard; caption by Adam Voiland

The tornado that struck Moore on the afternoon of Monday, May 20, was an F-4 tornado on the enhanced Fujita scale, according to the National Weather Service. F-4 tornadoes have sustained winds from 166 to 200 mph. This tornado was about twice as wide as the tornado that struck Moore on May 3, 1999. Moore is located 10 miles south of Oklahoma City. 

Before, during and after the tornado, satellites provided imagery and data to forecasters. The first tornado warning was issued around 2:40 p.m. CDT (local time). By 3:01 p.m. CDT a tornado emergency was issued for Moore, and 35 minutes later at 3:36 p.m. CDT, the tornado spun down and dissipated.

   
             
    NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible-light image that provided a detailed look at the supercell thunderstorm. NOAA's GOES-13 satellite provided continuously updated satellite imagery depicting the storm's movement. After the tornado, the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite's lightning observations showed that the thunderstorm complex was still active after nightfall.

NOAA's GOES-13 satellite provided forecasters with images of the storm system every 15 minutes. One GOES-13 satellite image was captured at 19:55 UTC (2:55 p.m. CDT) as the tornado began its deadly swath. The tornado was generated near the bottom of a line of clouds resembling an exclamation mark. The GOES-13 satellite imagery from the entire day was assembled into an animation by the NASA GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 
   
             
         
     This animation of imagery from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite shows the movement of storm systems in the south central United States on May 20, 2013. Warm, moist gulf air flowing across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri triggered tornadoes, with an F-4 tornado (winds between 166 and 200 mph) crossing Moore, Okla., on May 20 around 3 p.m. CDT.     
         
       
   
Segundo tornado en Oklahoma 1 Junio 2013
   
         
   
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