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Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 05/30/2012

Oklahoma City pounded by severe weather Tuesday, and more on the way today


A brief tornado begins to lift near Piedmont, Oklahoma. Video of the tornado can be seen here.
Severe weather erupted across Oklahoma yesterday, with considerable damage done to a number of places including Oklahoma City. While the primary issue was hail and high winds, at least one tornado, and potentially a few more, touched down as well.

I’ve been out in the Plains on a storm chasing vacation since last Thursday, so I found myself in position to witness both the severe storms and the brief tornado just to the northwest of the city.

This was the second chase of the trip so far which included a tornado, as we spotted several in Kansas last Friday.

A number of supercell thunderstorms began to erupt across north and central Oklahoma during the late afternoon, with one of the strongest of the group slowly making its way toward the high population center of Oklahoma City.


A supercell over northern Oklahoma. It was the northernmost of three along a line at the time, with the eventual Oklahoma City one as the southern one. Additional storms fired further south later as well.

As of last night, the storm injured at least 3 people, caused at least 65,000 power outages and it damaged numerous homes, businesses and vehicles across the area.


The mesocyclone (rotation center) of the eventual Oklahoma City supercell is seen while the storm was near Kingfisher.

The mesocyclone becomes temporarily wrapped in rain. A wall cloud is seen embedded in it.
A full damage assessment will take some time, but early indications were that it was not quite as bad as the May 2010 event that caused over half a billion dollars in damage.

Before it dropped a tornado and impacted the city and surroundings with hail as large as 5 inches as well as high winds, it created some beautiful scenes across the countryside.

Here’s a video of the large hail in Oklahoma City from the Associated Press...


A “moderate risk” (or the second highest of three possible) is in effect for Oklahoma and parts of Texas today. Image as of the overnight update.
Today, severe weather is again expected across the region, with a moderate risk of storms centered on Oklahoma.

While the primary threat might be very high winds and large hail, it is a potentially volatile situation with ornadoes also possible, particularly early in the evolution of the event. As time wears on during the day, a very powerful line of storms is expected to drop across the region causing widespread dangerous weather.

We’ll be out today, our seventh in a row chasing. It looks like there will be a break in the period following, a much needed one at this point! But, we’re planning on being out here until the end of next week if the pattern looks favorable again. I’ll post a broader compilation of images from the chasecation upon return.

All photos by the author, Ian Livingston.

By  |  12:35 PM ET, 05/30/2012

Categories:  Latest, Photography, U.S. Weather

 
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