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2017 Oklahoma City tornado
EF5 tornado (NWS/SPC)
Date May 11, 2017
Times 1423 - 1455 CDT
Touchdown location Oklahoma City
Maximum winds 235 mph
Injuries 344
Fatalities 51
Damage $3.4 billion million
Areas affected Oklahoma City
Part of the
2017 tornado season

The 2017 Oklahoma City tornado was a devastating EF5 event that was held responsible for at least 51 deaths and 344 injuries. The tornado also set a new record for the most damaging tornado on record, doing $3.4 billion in damages. The tornado was down for 32 minutes, in which time it managed to sweep away several hundred well built, anchored homes, leaving behind damaged foundations in its wake.


Synopsis

The supercell that spawned the tornado was responsible for another strong tornado an hour beforehand over northern Texas. By 1330 CDT, the supercell had developed a new area of rotation, which began to hook over as it intensified.

After reports of a very low, rapidly rotating wall cloud at 1355 CDT, the NWS in Norman issued a Particularly Dangerous Situation tornado warning, indicating that a strong rotation was on radar, and that a dangerous tornado would likely touch down within 30 minutes.

At 1423 CDT, a large tornado touched down on the edges of the city, prompting the issuance of a tornado emergency as it began to cause severe damage to numerous well built structures along its path, reaching approximately 1 mile wide by this point. Continuing to move into the city, the tornado claimed several lives as it demolished an apartment complex, before partially sweeping it away as well. In this area, very deep scouring was noted, along with several heavy vehicles that were thrown about a mile away. Trees were either shredded or completely debarked at this location as well.

From here, the tornado moved towards the center of the city, but luckily missed, before heading out again whilst producing damage rated from EF1 to EF3. The tornado was last noted at 1455 CDT whilst doing heavy tree and roof damages, later rated EF1 at this location.

Impacts and aftermath

Following the tornado, it was discovered that a large portion of the buildings within Oklahoma City's inner area had been swept away, though this is thought to be because they werent bolted or anchored to their foundations. However, at least 15 of those were, and they were also well built brick buildings, warranting an EF5 rating at those locations.

51 people were confirmed dead during the event, wih 344 others being taken into hospital for treatment, including a person who had a piece of glas driven into their shoulder by the force of the tornado, who required surgery to remove it. In all, $3.4 billion was done in damages, breaking the previous record of $2.8 billion set by the Joplin tornado in 2011 as a result.

Also following the event, it was decided to enforce stricter building codes with a hefty fine to be given to building companies if homes werent found to be secured properly to their foundations. It took 5 years to rebuild the parts of the city affected by the tornado, at a cost of $3.4 billion.

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