NEWS 9's Gary England Looks Back at May 3 Deadly Tornado Outbreak

Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 11:32 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY – Today marks the 11th anniversary of the deadly May 3rd tornadoes and most cannot forget the amazing pictures and video from that day.

Chief Meteorologist Gary England said he knew it would be stormy, but had no idea he would see a storm system he'd never seen in all his years of working in meteorology.

"Until the system was well underway I didn't really see it as a major outbreak and I don't think anyone did until it actually happened," said NEWS 9 Chief Meteorologist Gary England.

More than 60 twisters hit our state that day, killing 40 Oklahomans. The May 3 storm coverage changed the way we forecast weather today.

"The thing that stands out about May 3 is the sheer number of tornadoes, 60 plus, the sheer number of tornadoes and the duration," said England. "It went on for 10 hours. They were big and dangerous and deadly. A lot of people think we had a tornado in Moore, no brother, we had them all over the place."

Amid the handful of strong F3 and F4 tornadoes was the Moore-Bridgecreek-Oklahoma City F5 tornado. This twister boasted winds of over 300 mph, was over a mile wide at times and claimed the lives of 36 people. It caused more than $1.1 billion in damage, making it the costliest single tornado in U.S. history.

Many lessons were learned that day; what atmospheric conditions could birth such a monster and how warnings given out well in advance of the onslaught saved countless lives.