Violent Wedge approaching Bridge Creek OK
After the Chickasha tornado and satellite vortex dissipated, this mile-wide monster tornado formed. It would become one of the worst natural disasters to strike the southern plains. Within a few minutes, it did F5 damage in Bridge Creek, killing several residents. It later hit parts of Newcastle and southwest Oklahoma City, ravaged Moore (F5 again), then tore a narrow but deadly swath through Midwest City. Unfortunately, despite the most intensive advance warning and live media coverage of any tornado in history, it killed 38 people. This tornado was the most destructive ever in Oklahoma, and may go down as the most expensive tornado ever recorded in the nation, with combined insured/uninsured losses likely to exceed $1 billion. Of course, our trivial concerns at the time of this picture about the low-contrast lighting for photography went away fast when we realized where this tornado was headed -- straight for the southern part of the Oklahoma City metro area. Not wanting to get ensnarled in such certain devastation, our intercept of this storm ended right here; and we left to pursue another prolifically tornadic supercell farther west.
1 NE Middleburg OK (3 May 99), looking NW