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: