Weather Blog

Weather station survives direct hit from Oklahoma tornado

Weather station survives direct hit from Oklahoma tornado

 A MesoNet weather station situated in El Reno, Oklahoma survived a direct hit from a massive tornado Tuesday afternoon, and recorded what it felt the entire time.

Amazingly, the anemometer recorded gusts of 151 and 131 mph as the tornado passed. And if there were a weather vane on a barn nearby, it would have literally spun all the way around.

Here are the 5-minute observations:

  • 2:05 p.m.: Southeast East wind (112 deg) at 23 mph
  • 2:10 p.m.: East wind (85 degrees) at 20 mph
  • 2:15 p.m.: Southeast wind (113 deg) at 41 mph
  • 2:20 p.m.: South wind (178 deg) at 131 mph
  • 2:25 p.m.: West wind (298 deg) at 151 mph
  • 2:30 p.m.: Southwest wind (243 deg) at 47 mph
  • 2:35 p.m.: Southwest wind: (208 deg) at 30 mph

It also recorded 0.41" of rain in 20 minutes.

At the same time, the atmospheric pressure dropped like a rock when the tornado passed. Many people report ears popping when a tornado passes, and you can see why:

  • 2:15 p.m.: 944.35 mb (27.88" of mercury)
  • 2:25 p.m.: 940.25 mb (27.76" of mercury)
  • 2:30 p.m.: 945.95 mb (27.93" of mercury)

(Note those levels are not adjusted to sea level)

That is an incredible pressure change in 10 minutes. To compare, a decent windstorm in Seattle gets about a 3 milibar change *per hour*.

Here is a full version of what the gauge captured: