2013 Spring Recap: May 15-June 21

On May 14th I posted several images representing our (Juston Drake and I) Spring 2013 chases up till that day.  The following day, May 15th, we documented a large tornado East of Ringold, TX.  The period of significant severe weather activity over the Great Plains the following two weeks, May 15-31, surpassed all other days from the Spring of 2013 combined.  Several substantial tornadoes developed on May 18 near Rozel, KS including a tornado rated EF4 by mobile radar data.  An outbreak occurred over Central Oklahoma on May 19, which included two violent tornadoes affecting the towns of Carney and Shawnee.  The following day we documented a violent and deadly tornado with damage rated EF5 over Moore, OK.  The following week continued to be very active with several significant severe weather and tornado days topped by possibly the most intense tornado ever documented near El Reno, OK on May 31st, which tragically took the lives of several storm chasers and other victims.

The large-scale global pattern during the early-mid Spring of 2013 was not conducive for severe weather.  However, a powerful MJO wave developed over the Indian Ocean during the first two weeks of May and propagated eastward, which significantly changed the pattern over North America.  A long-term drought over the Southwest United States provided a substantial temperature inversion, which played a significant role in several strong tornado days.  The significant temperature inversion (CAP) present near 700mb on May 18, 19, 20, 28, and 31 combined with very deep moisture, relatively cool upper-level temperatures and strong deep-layer shear provided environments for powerful tornadoes.  The environments, which developed on May 19th and 31st were especially volatile and conducive for powerful violent tornadoes with near-storm estimated effective-layer EHI’s approximately 12-18 and 18-23 respectively (values calculated by Juston Drake and Simon Brewer).  Had the Shawnee or the El Reno tornadoes moved over heavily populated neighborhoods catastrophic damage would have likely resulted.  Luckily these two tornadoes passed over relatively less populated areas, which minimized their impact.

Below are several images from May 15th through June 14th:

Violent Multivortex Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Violent Multivortex Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

massive wall cloud and deadly wedge-shaped Moore OK EF5 tornado hidden underneath May 20 2013

massive wall cloud and deadly wedge-shaped Moore OK EF5 tornado hidden underneath
May 20 2013

Meteorologist & Storm Chaser Jim Bishop films Rozel KS EF4 Tornado May 18 2013

Meteorologist & Storm Chaser Jim Bishop films Rozel KS EF4 Tornado May 18 2013

Skinny Multivortex Tornado over Edmond OK May 19 2013

Skinny Multivortex Tornado over Edmond OK May 19 2013

World Record 2.6 mile wide EF5 El Reno "Mega-Wedge" Tornado in Multivortex Stage  May 31 2013

World Record 2.6 mile wide EF5 El Reno      “Mega-Wedge” Tornado in Multivortex Stage
May 31 2013

Horizontal Vortex Visible on bottom left of Violent Shawnee OK Tornado May 19 2013

Horizontal Vortex Visible on bottom left of Violent Shawnee OK Tornado May 19 2013

Gargantuan Shelf Cloud looms over Prescott AR  May 21 2013

Gargantuan Shelf Cloud looms over Prescott AR
May 21 2013

Violent Multivortex Wedge Tornado Southwest of Carney OK May 19 2013

Violent Multivortex Wedge Tornado Southwest of Carney OK May 19 2013

Huge Supercell Updraft Base, Wall Cloud, and Violent Tornado  West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Huge Supercell Updraft Base, Wall Cloud, and Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Large Bowl Funnel with Multivortex Tornado Crosses Highway 82 East of Ringold TX May 15 2013

Large Bowl Funnel with Multivortex Tornado Crosses Highway 82 East of Ringold TX
May 15 2013

Crushed Vehicle & Heavily Damaged Moore Medical Center from May 20th EF5 Tornado

Crushed Vehicle & Heavily Damaged Moore Medical Center from May 20th EF5 Tornado

Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

"Mega-Wedge" EF5 Tornado takes shape south of El Reno OK May 31 2013

“Mega-Wedge” EF5 Tornado takes shape south of El Reno OK May 31 2013

Stratus Undulatus Clouds over Norman OK morning before chase day  May 23 2013

Stratus Undulatus Clouds over Norman OK morning before chase day
May 23 2013

Powerful Inflow Jets Feeding Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Powerful Inflow Jets Feeding Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK
May 19 2013

Large Cone Tornado East of Ringold TX May 15 2013

Large Cone Tornado East of Ringold TX
May 15 2013

Large EF4 Tornado Churns over Fields near Rozel KS May 18 2013

Large EF4 Tornado Churns over Fields near Rozel KS May 18 2013

World Record 2.6 Mile-Wide EF5 Tornado Southeast of El Reno OK at Maximum Size

World Record 2.6 Mile-Wide EF5 Tornado Southeast of El Reno OK at Maximum Size

Powerflash Illuminates Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Powerflash Illuminates Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Low Precip Supercell over Nebraska Panhandle  June 11 2013

Low Precip Supercell over Nebraska Panhandle
June 11 2013

Tornado Ropes-out East of Ringold TX May 15 2013

Tornado Ropes-out East of Ringold TX               May 15 2013

Incredible Supercell Structure looking South at early Multivortex Stage of El Reno EF5 Tornado May 31 2013

Incredible Supercell Structure looking South at early Multivortex Stage of El Reno EF5 Tornado May 31 2013

Violent Stovepipe-Shaped Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Violent Stovepipe-Shaped Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

"Fly Saucer" LP Supercell hovers near Ansley NE  May 26 2013

“Flying Saucer” LP Supercell hovers near Ansley NE May 26 2013

Large Tornado Southwest of Carney OK May 19 2013

Large Tornado Southwest of Carney OK             May 19 2013

Rain-Wrapped Tornado West of Wapanucka OK May 20 2013

Rain-Wrapped Tornado West of Wapanucka OK May 20 2013

Ray of Light over open Prairie of Nebraska Panhandle June 11 2013

Ray of Light over open Prairie of Nebraska Panhandle June 11 2013

Sculpted HP Supercell near West Point NE June 14 2013

Sculpted HP Supercell near West Point NE       June 14 2013

Large EF4 Tornado Crosses Road by Storm Chasers near Rozel KS May 18 2013

Large EF4 Tornado Crosses Road by Storm Chasers near Rozel KS May 18 2013

Neighborhood Obliterated by EF5 Moore OK Tornado May 20 2013

Neighborhood Obliterated by EF5 Moore OK Tornado May 20 2013

Large Wall Cloud & "Mega-Wedge" approaching I-40 near El Reno OK May 31 2013

Large Wall Cloud & “Mega-Wedge” approaching I-40 near El Reno OK May 31 2013

Ghostly Shelf Cloud associated with strong MCS near Prescott AR May 21 2013

Ghostly Shelf Cloud associated with strong MCS near Prescott AR May 21 2013

Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

Violent Tornado West of Shawnee OK May 19 2013

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