• NOAA forecasters use experimental model to predict Oklahoma tornado hours before formation


    TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:

    • A new forecast model helps forecasters predict storms earlier.
    • The National Weather Service used the model to predict a tornado 90 minutes before it touched down in May near Elk City, Oklahoma.


    An experimental forecast model helped the National Weather Service predict the path of an Oklahoma tornado hours before the tornado formed, the agency said.

    According to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, western Oklahoma residents near Elk City were alerted to possible tornado chances on the afternoon of May 16.

    “Ninety minutes later, a dangerous, rain-wrapped EF-2 tornado struck the small town: It killed one, injured eight, and destroyed about 200 homes and more than 30 businesses.”

    Officials said storm spotters and radar data can mean a tornado is minutes from touching down before warnings are issued. The new model reportedly offers at a better look at the storm's evolution at an early stage.

    Learn more about the model and how forecasters use it to warn residents of dangerous storms here.

    FOX23 Chief Meteorologist James Aydelott said the research improves forecasts and the FOX23 Severe Weather Team has worked with National Weather Service forecasters to implement new developments.

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