The 3 May 1999 tornado outbreak: radar and damage analysis for Oklahoma County
Shaw, Erin Patrice
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On 3 May 1999, a number of violent tornadoes swept across the central United States. The state of Oklahoma endured the most devastating effects of this tornado outbreak, counting approximately 60 tomadoes, more than 40 deaths, and more than $1 billion in damages before the night was over. Storm A, the first of eight tomado producing supercell storms in central Oklahoma, spawned the deadliest, most destructive of these tornadoes. Data from the Twin Lakes, Oklahoma (KTLX) WSR-88D Doppler radar is examined in order to describe the structure of Storm A as it impacts Oklahoma County in central Oklahoma. Of particular interest is the radial velocity data, which offers insight into the general wind motion above the surface. This wind profile is compared to damage reports made in Oklahoma County, which include initial Fujitascale estimates and the tax assessor's damage reports. It is found that the radar-derived data accurately predicts the location of damage. Furthermore, Doppler velocity data also shows winds near the surface evolving in a manner similar to the damage itself. These results, along with their implications, are also discussed.