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Last week’s El Reno, Oklahoma tornado classified as widest tornado in U.S. history

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El Reno, Oklahoma EF-5 tornado - widest tornado in U.S. history

Today the National Weather Service reported that the May 31, 2013 EF-5 tornado that struck El Reno, Oklahoma (25 miles west of Oklahoma City), was the widest tornado on record.  Measuring 2.6 miles across, it beat the previous 2.4-mile wide twister that hit Hallam, Nebraska on May 22, 2004.  Wind speeds were measured up to 296 MPH, close to matching the highest wind speed ever measured on Earth

The Friday tornado and its resulting flooding claimed 18 lives, including six children, a dozen adults, and the famed storm chaser, Tim Samaras. Area hospitals treated 115 injuries after Friday’s storm.  The tornado’s width was measured by a mobile radar unit as the storm passed south of El Reno near Highway 81, and only includes the tornado itself, and not winds surrounding the storm.

The massive tornado struck less than two weeks after a tornado ripped through nearby Moore, Okla., only 30 miles from El Reno,  leaving 24 people dead.

Check pictures of the massive twister in the picture gallery below.

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