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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published May 25 2013

Weather Talk: EF5 tornadoes usually deadly in populated areas

The tornado in Moore, Okla., this past week was another example of how destructive an EF5 tornado can be. The National Weather Service office in Norman, Okla., estimated there were 13,500 people in the path of that tornado. Sadly, 24 of those individuals were killed.

However, a similar event in the past could have been even more devastating. Statistically, an American citizen is 90 percent less likely to be killed in a tornado compared to 100 years ago. Advances in forecasting, Doppler radar, education in proper sheltering techniques and improvements in communications have all led to fewer overall deaths in severe storms.

But EF5 tornadoes, with winds in excess of 200 mph, usually cause fatalities when they hit a populated area.

EF5 tornadoes only account for 0.1 percent of all tornadoes, but with more than 1,000 twisters observed most years in the lower 48 states, most years bring at least one or two EF5 monsters.

Even with all the advances we have made, results are usually deadly when such a violent tornado strikes where people live.


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