Today is the two-year anniversary of the largest tornado ever recorded. The tornado, a multiple-vortex EF-3 (by damage, EF-5 by radar measurements) grew to an astonishing width of 2.6 miles at its widest. The storm killed eight people, including three highly experienced storm chasers caught by the tornado’s explosive growth and erratic movement of the smaller vortices within the larger circulation.
The storm also blew up a controversy when a television meteorologist in Oklahoma City told viewers to “go south,” driving out of the city and out of the way of the tornado. Whether it was exacerbated by his remark or not, thousands of people got stuck on the highway in a traffic jam as damaging winds and large hail pelted the parked vehicles—if a tornado had roared over the interstate, hundreds of people could have been injured or killed.
Unless you live in a mobile or prefabricated home, never evacuate a building and attempt to flee a tornado by vehicle.