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(Editor's note: See updated story by clicking here.)
May 4, 1999 — Oklahoma experienced about 40 violent tornadoes Monday. Tornadoes occur every year, but what made this unique and deadly is that they struck heavily populated areas. This is the sixth deadliest tornado outbreak in Oklahoma history.

Preliminary reports indicate that 76 tornadoes touched down across the region, which probably puts this outbreak in the top 10 for number of tornadoes in the U.S.

NOAA satellites captured the storms as they roared through several states. To see other satellite imagery see NOAA's Satellite Services Division. Click on severe weather.

To see animations of the storms click here and here. What you'll see are images from NOAA's GOES-8 satellite taken from 3:15 p.m. CDT to 7:45 p.m. CDT. Just click on the image to start the animation.

See colorized graphics of the storms here along with MPEG animations.

See photos of destruction.

To learn more about tornadoes click here.


NOAA Tornado Satellite Image
This image was captured by NOAA's GOES-8 (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite)

NOAA Tornadoe Satellite Image
This image was captured by NOAA's polar orbiting satellite.

Covering Tornado Outbreak

The latest information on the tornado outbreak in Oklahoma and Kansas, including the Fujita scale category, will be posted at the following NOAA Internet site as it becomes available: Check this page for a report on the Oklahoma and Kansas storms.

Preliminary Storm Survey Map

See photos and a map outlining the path the storms took from the Web site of the National Weather Service forecast office in Norman, Oklahoma.


The following NOAA offices have experts who are available to comment on subjects related to the May 3 and 4 tornado outbreak:

Tornado Research and Historical Perspective:
NOAA Norman, Okla. (National Severe Storms Laboratory; National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, Forecast Office, and Operational Support Facility)
Contact: Keli Tarp (405) 366-0451

Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Silver Spring, Maryland
Contact: Jana Goldman (301) 713-2454 ext. 143

Specifics About this Tornado Outbreak:
Oklahoma Storms: NWS Southern Region Headquarters, Ft. Worth, Texas
Contact: Curtis Carey (817) 978-4613 ext. 140

Kansas Storms: NWS Central Region Headquarters, Kansas City, Missouri
Contact: Pat Slattery (816) 426-7621

Contact: Keli Tarp (405) 366-0451

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center:

Tornadoes—Nature's Most Violent Storms:

Vortex—Unraveling the Secrets of Tornadoes:

Updated 5/7/99