Tornadoes in Oklahoma: Rare High-Risk Weather Warning

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Tornadoes in Oklahoma

Monday evening witnessed tornadoes touching down in rural Oklahoma, while parts of Kansas experienced large hail as a dangerous storm outbreak unfolded, raising the potential for sustained twisters covering extensive distances.

Immediate Precautions Urged
Forecasters issued a rare high-risk weather warning for both states, cautioning against waiting to visually confirm tornadoes before seeking shelter. The National Weather Service emphasized the need for immediate precautionary measures.

Source: Youtube/LiveNOW from FOX

Several tornadoes were reported in north central Oklahoma, including one located approximately 45 minutes north of Tulsa.

A tornado emergency alert was issued by the local National Weather Service office for the nearby towns of Bartlesville, Dewey, and Barnsdall.

Impact Across the Region

Earlier in the evening, tornado sightings occurred near the small town of Okeene, with another storm in Covington generating tornado activity intermittently for over an hour.

A dispatcher in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma, received a report of tornado damage to a single residence, though it remains unclear if anyone was present at the time or if there were any injuries.

In another area, Ellinwood, Kansas, with a population of around 2,000 residents located approximately 100 miles northwest of Wichita, experienced hailstones as large as apples, measuring 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) in diameter.

Extensive Threat Area
The National Weather Service highlighted that over 3.4 million individuals, along with 1,614 schools and 159 hospitals in Oklahoma, parts of southern Kansas, and far northern Texas, are facing the most severe threat of tornadoes.

Numerous educational institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Public Schools, and several metropolitan school districts, opted to close early and cancel afternoon and evening classes and activities in response to the severe weather conditions.

The State Emergency Operations Center of Oklahoma remains active following the recent deadly storms over the weekend. The state's commissioner of public safety instructed most state agencies across Oklahoma to allow their employees to leave early on Monday.

Preparing for the Worst

Monte Tucker, a farmer and rancher from Sweetwater in far western Oklahoma, spent Monday securing his tractors and heavy equipment in barns to shield them from potential hail damage. He also informed his neighbors that they could seek refuge at his house if the weather worsened.

Uncommon High-Risk Designation

Bill Bunting, the deputy director of the Storm Prediction Center, highlighted the rarity of a high-risk designation from the center, emphasizing that it is not a common occurrence, even during the spring months.

According to Bunting, the frequency and intensity of storms are expected to escalate rapidly during the evening hours, particularly across western areas of Oklahoma and extending into south-central Kansas.

The heightened risk level is attributed to an unusual combination of factors: Strong winds, reaching speeds of approximately 75 mph (46.60 kph), drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, contributing to the elevated risk of severe weather across the Plains.

#Progression of Hazardous Weather
The hazardous weather conditions in the Plains are expected to progress eastward, potentially posing overnight risks in areas such as Kansas City and Springfield in Missouri through early Tuesday.

Continued Monitoring
"This weather pattern won't diminish as the evening progresses; instead, there's a continued risk for severe weather," emphasized Victor Gensini, a meteorology professor at Northern Illinois University.

Nationwide Forecast
Stormy conditions are forecasted throughout the United States for the entire week ahead. The eastern U.S. and the South are anticipated to experience the most severe weather over the coming days. However, conditions are predicted to improve over the weekend, with clearer skies anticipated.

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