The National Weather Service in Tulsa has been busy surveying damage from this week’s severe weather. On Tuesday, a line of storms developed across western Oklahoma and slowly moved eastward. The line finally reached into eastern Oklahoma well after sunset, making an already difficult task of locating tornadic activity even more difficult.
With a line of storms like we had, you have to watch the leading edge very closely for spin ups. Any tornadoes that do spin up are usually short lived and hard to catch on radar. The fact that the line moved through during the night also made it difficult for storm trackers to spot.
The list of tornadoes from Tuesday’s event continues to grow. As of Sunday afternoon, the NWS has reported 11 across eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. The first of the night occurred around 10:18 p.m. in Tulsa where it damaged a church and several homes around I-44 & US 75. About 10 minutes later, reports of debris in Bixby started coming in and then from Broken Arrow shortly after that. Reports continued from Checotah to Twin Oaks from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.
At this time, the longest tornado track of the night went about 10 miles from Twin Oaks to Colcord.
The National Weather Service tweeted this at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, bringing the tally up to 11.
Another tornado has been confirmed from Tuesday's storms. This one at Greenleaf State Park 3 miles SSE Braggs in Muskogee county. #okwx— NWS Tulsa (@NWStulsa) May 1, 2016
Despite damage from tornadoes, straight-line winds also caused issues. Copan in Washington County had an 87 mph wind gust reported.
After a severe weather event is over, the National Weather Service will go out and assess the damage. They decide if the damage occurred from a tornado or from straight line winds. They will also give the tornado a preliminary rating.
Most of the damage on Tuesday occurred from EF-1 tornadoes, with the average wind speed between 90-110 mph (NWS). As they continue to survey, we will bring you updates on their findings. For folks that have to continue to clean up, there is good news in the fact that we have quiet weather in the week ahead.
As we continue through May, it is important to stay weather aware. May is usually our busiest month when it comes to tornadoes. On average, the state sees about 22 tornadoes a year. Last year, we had 83 (statewide). That number is close to the record of 91 in 2010.
Did we ever have a May where we did not have any confirmed tornadoes? Yes we did, back in 2005.