The Killer El Reno Tornado Was the Widest Tornado Ever | Smart News | Smithsonian

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The Killer El Reno Tornado Was the Widest Tornado Ever

The El Reno tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb last Friday was the widest tornado ever seen

smithsonian.com

Last Friday, a powerful EF-5 tornado swept through the suburbs of Oklahoma City killing 18 people, including veteran tornado researchers and storm chasers Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young. Originally, the tornado was deemed an EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale based on the damage it had done. But now, says the National Weather Service, the El Reno tornado has been upgraded to an EF-5.

Further, says Fox, the National Weather Service says that the tornado was 2.6 miles wide, making it the largest tornado ever observed. The previous largest tornado was 2.5 miles wide when it hit Hallam, Nebraska in 2004.

The El Reno tornado came just on the heels of the earlier EF-5 Moore tornado that killed 24 people in another Oklahoma City suburb. The El Reno tornado, says Fox, was twice as wide as the Moore tornado.

More from Smithsonian.com:

How to Understand the Scale of the Oklahoma Tornado
Here’s How the Enhanced Fujita Scale Works, and This Is What It Looks Like

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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