By Paul Beckwith
As I write this blog in the aftermath of the massive tornado that passed through Oklahoma this week, I have multiple computer screens playing live feeds (like the one in Diagram 1). This mega-storm was generated as part of the massive cyclonic system that passed over the central U.S (from May 18th through May 20th). It spawned many storm systems and severe tornadoes.
In Oklahoma, it took less than 1 hour for a thunderstorm system to develop into a full-blown 3 km diameter tornado of the highest size/strength (EF5). As you know, this tornado caused total devastation along a swath greater than 30 km long and about 3 km wide in the southern part of the city. Two schools and a hospital were destroyed resulting in heavy loss of life.
The actual tornado tracked through the most built up part of the city and had a length of 6.22 km (Image 2). As bad as this was, if the tornado had tracked further north by about 10 km, the path length...