Monday, May 3

Today in History - 03 May - 06 May 1999

n this very day,
A total count of
46 dead,
800 injured,
More than 8000 homes damaged or destroyed,
Total property damage of nearly $1.5 billion.

Does this look like a Junkyard?
nope, this is when a F-5 Tornado decides to go to a mall.
It will turn the Fiercest Fighter into a Self-pissing Wimp.

A total of 74 tornadoes touched down across the 2 states,
Oklahoma and Kansas, in less than 21 hours.
At one point, there were as many as four tornadoes reported on the ground at the same time.

Thus on, today is remembered as,

May 3, 1999 Oklahoma/Kansas Tornado Outbreak.

A tornado is a violent, rotating column of air linking the clouds to the ground.
It's not the winds that kill you,
but rather what it brings with it.
Making grains of sand feel like shotgun pallets.
We do not really know much about Tornadoes,
Scientists are still trying to figure out,
Under what kind of condition summons it?
How it damages?
How to predict it?
Most tornado have short life spans.
Thus, making them very illusive and hard to study.
But on this day,
the most violent and long lasting F-5 tornado was witnessed.

(I don't mean Brock Lesnar's back-breaking F-5)

But rather,
The Big Fat Ugly Green Wedge tornado.

F-5 tornadoes can have winds up to 512 km/h - size doesn't matter.

(F-5 refers to the Fujita Scale, a scale that rates the strength based damage it causes.
0(zero) being the weakest, 5 being the strongest. It is now decommissioned to be replaced by EF scale - Enhanced Fujita Scale which is also similar with slight changes.)

The F-5 is so strong, it is able to cause severe damage which includes turning well-constructed houses into matchsticks, turn cars into projectiles, badly damage steel reinforced concrete structures and cause significant structural deformation in high-rise buildings.

Below is a clip taken by Reed Timmer and Crew on 03 May 1999.

Below is the glimpse of damage that was caused.

Some additional documentation videos.

To see the path of destruction from the air, start from somewhere in the middle.

A reason why there are so many dedicated scientists like Joshua Wurman, meteorologists Reed Timmer and Joel Taylor, engineer Tim Samaras and even film-maker Sean Casey are risking their lives in their own way, to pitch in on the effort to further understand and educate the public about tornadoes and hopefully, able to increase the time for tornado warnings which could in turn save countless lives.

Like on 04 May 2007, when a EF-5 Tornado ( the only "5" class since 03 May 1999, it was 2.7km in width with winds reaching 330 km/h and only traveled a distance of 35km) went through Greensburg, Kansas destroying 95 percent of the city, severely damaging the remaining 5 percent and yet only killing 11 people. (Mainly because there was a 20-minute warning time before the tornado struck.)

I feel so blessed to not have the need to worry about tornadoes yet.

(p.s This is what Sean Casey developed to drive into Tornadoes for filming.)
COOL? It is called TIV 2 : Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2
Do watch Storm Chasers on Discovery Channel.

A Tribute to the Storm Chasers

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