A massive twister struck the town of El Reno, OK on Friday. Measuring 2.6 miles across, it was the widest tornado ever recorded.
According the National Weather Service, the winds of this violent storm reached as high as 295 mph. On the ground for forty minutes, it traveled more than sixteen miles. This powerful twister and the flooding rains associated with it claimed the lives of nineteen people, including three storm chasers.
Initially classified as an EF-3, the NWS upgraded this storm to an EF-5 – the highest ranking on the Enhanced Fujita Scale – after evaluating the damage. This was the second EF-5 tornado to strike Oklahoma in less than two weeks. The other leveled the nearby city of Moore.
Since 1950, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, sixty EF-5/F-5 tornadoes have struck the United States. Eight of these touched down in Oklahoma.