Thursday, March 26, 2015   |   Critical Weather

Oklahoma Tornadoes – March 25 Analysis

Analysis by Kevin Nugent, Forecast Meteorologist, Baron

Strong tornadoes strike the towns of Sand Springs, Oklahoma and Moore, Oklahoma on Wednesday evening, March 25.

At 5:31p.m., we see a strong supercell thunderstorm approaching Sand Springs, Oklahoma from the west. There are two low-level shear markers present in the location of the hook echo and a shear SCIT pointing ESE toward the town of Sand Springs, and also western Tulsa. The BTI on the storm is a very high 7.3.

3_25_sansprings_531_ref_mrks_scits

At the same time, Baron’s derived Shear Rate product shows a high amount of shear in the hook echo region of the storm. The Shear Rate actually shows the shear in a doughnut shape, further increasing the likelihood that a tornado is occurring.

3_25_sandsprings_531_shear_rate

At 5:41 p.m., Baron’s derived TDS (Tornado Debris Signature) Swath product, which detects and displays areas where lofted debris from a tornado is occurring, shows an area of debris west of Tulsa and immediately west of Sand Springs, Oklahoma in the area which was affected by the tornado.

3_25_sandsprings_540_TDS_swath

The storm that produced the Moore, Oklahoma tornado cycled up very rapidly as on the 6:30 p.m. reflectivity scan. There was little indication that a tornado would soon be on the ground, but by the 6:40 p.m. reflectivity scan we see a well-defined hook echo directly over the city of Moore with a shear marker in the region of the hook echo.

3_25_moore_641_ref_markers

Baron’s derived Shear Rate product shows high amounts of shear in the hook region of the storm, which is directly over the city of Moore.

3_25_moore_641_shear_rate

A very small, but intense velocity couplet is noted in velocity data in the area where the highest shear rate was occurring. Again, directly over the town of Moore, Oklahoma.

3_25_moore_641_vel

A mosaic of 5 scans, or 25 minutes of Baron derived Shear Rate product, which shows the path of the highest amount of shear from the storm correlates to the exact path the tornado took.

3_25_moore_shear_rate_mosaic