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2217 Oklahoma City tornado
EF4 tornado (NWS)
Tornado 917

The tornado at peak strength
Date July 19, 2217
Times 1857-1924 CDT
Touchdown location Outside Oklahoma City
Injuries 91
Fatalities 23
Damage $527 million
Areas affected Oklahoma City
Part of the
Tornadoes of 2217

The 2217 Oklahoma City tornado was a violent, highly destructive tornado that tore through the suburbs of Oklahoma City during the evening of July 19, 2217, being officially rated an EF4 by the NWS, although this is disputed. 23 people died in the event, 91 others were injured, and damages totalled to $527 million, which required federal aid to help out with. It took several years to rebuild the heaviest damaged areas, leaving families with relatives, or temporarily homeless whilst their homes were repaired.


Meteorological synopsis

2217 Oklahoma City tornado path


The conditions leading up to the tornado were muggy and humid. For 3 days before the outbreak, the temperatures had reached 35C, but a capping inversion prevented the development of the thunderstorms needed to break the conditions. Therefore, when this cap finally broke during the late afternoon of July 19, a monstrous super cell was able to develop, and a tornado touched down at 1857 local time, causing EF1 damage at the beginning of its path, snapping trees and destroying outhouses.

By 1905, the tornado had reached EF3 intensity as it tore through a suburb in the city. Here, a poorly built home was partially swept away by the tornado as it passed through. Also in this area, numerous mobile homes were obliterated, and trees were partially debarked as well, with minimal ground scouring occurring as well.

At 1910, the tornado is estimated to have cut directly through the city center, sweeping away some of the poorly anchored buildings in the area. Damage here was rated as EF4, due to the poor construction of the buildings where they were swept away. However, a storm damage survey concluded that EF5 winds were likely to have occurred, as 2 well built brick buildings sustained high end EF4 damage.

At 1917, the tornado moved through the other outer suburbs of the city, causing EF1-EF2 damage in these areas. By 1924, the tornado had lifted, though the storm threatened to drop another tornado for another 10 minutes before the second funnel cloud dissipated.

Impacts

The tornado caused the deaths of 23 people along its path. In addition to this, 91 others were injured, and $527 million was done in damages. It took several days to clear up the debris left by the tornado, and then almost a year to rebuild those areas devastated by the event. In the aftermath of the tornado, the US government allowed for federal aid to reach those areas hit by the tornado, and allowing for $1 billion to go towards the repairs.

Rating disputes

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