Oklahoma Tornado: Why So Destructive, Unpredictable?
Hurricanes are relatively easy to predict, but not tornadoes.
"Strong tornadoes occur pretty much every year," said Christopher Karstens, a research scientist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) in Norman, Oklahoma. "But most of them occur out in open flat areas, or areas where there aren't many people. It's rare that we get one of these going through a major populated area."
Scientists estimate that the devastating twister was half a mile (0.8 kilometers) wide and generated winds of up to 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour).
During its 40-minute tour of destruction, Monday's tornado carved a 20-mile path through Newcastle, Moore, and South Oklahoma City, reducing entire neighborhoods and at least one elementary school to rubble. The official death toll on Tuesday morning stood in