21 April 2023

April 19 2023 Tornadoes

 On 19 April 2023, Oklahoma was hit by yet another tragedy on that hallowed date. A series of supercell thunderstorms formed in southwestern Oklahoma and wreaked havoc as they moved northeast across the state. A total of 12 tornados have been confirmed that caused damage in the following cities/ towns:

  • Cole
  • Shawnee
  • Tinker Air Force Base
  • Etowah
  • Pink
  • Bethel Acres
  • McLoud
A map of the paths that the different tornados took. 

The city of Shawnee and the town of Cole were hit the hardest and unfortunately, we lost three lives in Cole. At the time of this post the largest tornado is estimated to be an EF5. 

Damage at Oklahoma Baptist  University

What is left of the Shawnee High School Gym

Supercell forming over Oklahoma University in Norman

When tragedies strike you usually see catchy hashtags like #Boston Strong, #Paris Strong, and #Vegas Strong. That is a great way to show support for those affected by tragedy. In Oklahoma, it is called the Oklahoma Standard. I guess that you could say that it started on 22 April 1889, but it was not given a name until 19 April 1995 with the Oklahoma City Bombing. It isn't just the show of support but it is the overwhelming show of support. Where people will gladly stand in line for 12 hours to donate blood or a reporter notices that a search dog has a minor cut on its foot and within hours tens of thousands of dog bootys are donated. Oklahoma is a harsh environment. We can have blizzards in the winter and months of triple-digit temps in the summer. Our weather to say the least can be extreme. February 2011 in Nowata drives this point home. 10 February 2011 Nowata recorded a temperature of -31 degrees and 15 inches of snow on the ground. Just seven days later on 17 Feb Nowata reached 79 degrees. That is 110 degrees in just 7 days. When has that happened where you live? From wildfires to drought, floods and hailstorms, dust storms to microbursts, we have it all. Over the years we have learned time and time again that if we don't stand together we don't stand at all. 

With my neighbors recovering from our most recent storms I feel as though I have let my people down. I got my amateur radio license in April 2013. Wow has it been 10 years already? The following month, May of 2013 Oklahoma was once again struck by tornadoes, including the Newcastle-Moore Tornado that took out two elementary schools and took the lives of 7 children and a few days later the El Reno Tornado which had a base of 2.6 miles and was the largest tornado on record (The El Reno tornado was classified by its 300 mph wind speed as being an EF5 but because it hit farm fields and struck very few buildings it was downgraded to an EF3) The path of the El Reno tornado could be seen from the International Space Station

After the May 2013 storms, I would work my normal 12-hour shift and then I would go to different areas like Bridgecreek, Moore, Newcastle, El Reno, and Shawnee and operate radios for several more hours. This went on for several weeks. Now due to my back issues, I can't go help out at all. So if you are in good health then savor and appreciate it for one day it could all be taken from you.

My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with all of those affected by the recent storms. To learn how you can help please visit: American Red Cross Tornado Relief Also anyone anywhere can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross Disaster Relief which helps people affected by disasters of all types including this week's Oklahoma tornados. 

As always you can leave any thoughts or comments in the comments section below or you may contact me directly at Aaron@K5ATG.com

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Aaron K5ATG

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