Home / National News / Deadly El Reno, Okla., Tornado Breaks Record as Widest Twister in 60 Years


(EL RENO, Okla.) — The tornado that ripped through El Reno, Okla., late last week, killing 19, was the widest tornado ever recorded, meteorologists confirmed today. They also officially upgraded the twister to an EF-5, the highest category.

The El Reno tornado, which tore a 16.2-mile path through the city during rish hour Friday, had originally been categorized as an EF-3.

The deadly twister also broke records as the widest tornado ever recorded — 2.6 miles at its maximum width — since researchers started keeping track more than 60 years ago.

The previous record had been set by a tornado in 2004 in Hallam, Neb., that had a width of 2.5 miles.

That put the tornado at twice the width of the Moore, Okla., tornado that touched down near Oklahoma City on May 20, killing at least 24, including nine children. That twister cut a 12-mile-long path of destruction from Newcastle to Moore and was also categorized as an EF-5.

The Joplin, Mo., tornado that killed more than 100 in 2011, making it the single most deadly twister in 60 years, was three-quarters of a mile wide.

The death toll from Friday’s storms included six children and well-known meteorologist and storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras, and fellow tornado hunter Carl Young.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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