The tornado's mile-wide path of destruction
The storm that leveled much of Moore, Okla., grew from a small cloud to a dangerous supercell in just over half an hour. The tornado it spawned was on the ground for 40 minutes. Read related article or see before and after photos.
Radar shows a thunderstorm forming southwest of Oklahoma City. Moisture in the air and general instability in the atmosphere meant conditions were ripe for a huge, long-lasting storm.
The storm has become a supercell, with a tornado forming on the southwest side. The clear area in front of the hook is the “inflow notch” through which the storm draws up warm air to fuel itself.
The hook becomes more pronounced as the storm intensifies. A tighter spin means a more violent storm.
Enormous amounts of debris pulled into the storm appear as a pink ball in the center.
The storm is at its peak. Winds are spinning at 210 mph, and the track is about a mile wide. The pink ball appears huge because debris is being lifted more than a mile into the air.
The storm begins to weaken and narrow after it crosses I-35. The tornado would lift about 3:33 p.m. after about 40 minutes on the ground.
SOURCE: Meteorologists Lindsey Ozment and Paul Kamis of RadarScope/WDT; National Weather Service; radar images from RadarScope/WDT.