May 3rd 1999, not just a typical date on the calender. No this day set forever a knowlege of the power that a Tornado could do.Killing 46 people, causing 800 injured and leaving 1.5 billion dollars in damage. This wasnt some event that people found out days later, it was moment for moment nation known. People flee and dodge for 11 hours waiting for the devastating storm to finish its path and leave us, hoping for the best but exspecting the worst. Record F6 tornado hit down in Oklahoma and marked a new era in tornado fear and study.

May 3rd, 1999, just another normal day in the life of an Oklahoman. Same old work, same old school, same old everything, with a chance of rain. Story remains the same in Kansas as well, but what had seemed to be just an "ordinary" day in the heartland turned out to be the most devestating day ever witnessed in Oklahoma/Kansas history. It all started on a warm yet cool day during May of 1999. Kids going to school, Parents to work, and news anchors warning us all about possible Tornado touchdowns later on in the evening. Thats nothing in Oklahoma/Kansas though, just typical weather and weakling tornados dirupting the peace, or so we thought. So as the day passed on and time kept moving, the clouds in the sky became more and more dark while totally blocking anylight from the sun. When 4:30 p.m sruck on the clock the Norman weather center issued the first Tornado Watch for that day, and started what would be the longers 11 hours Oklahomans have ever faced.


The events that occured on that horrific day in May were to be seen as an immediate catastrophy. Several properties and homes destroyed, car lots literally losing inventory, schools left to nothing but rubble, and electrical sites drained down to their last shock. The Tornado's wrath was felt by people all over the state within just a few hours due to the powerful impact on daily life, and the widespread news of this unmerciful storm. The most mind boggling part of the May 3rd tornadoes is the fact that they all started out as a slow paced storms building up from the south and ending up as 74 spinning beasts making their mark across the central heartland. Tornadoes are caused by fast precipitating clouds releasing heat which causes a rise in the cloud, then it creates a vaccum and has air rushed under it which is known as a vortex.

Judging on the location of your house and community, this storm not only instantly left severe damage to everything that got in its way, but also gave Oklahomans a new fear towards the true power of mother nature. Millions upon Millions of dollars of repair was in order to even attempt to recover from this massive Tornado. Families left homeless, companies out of business, and much more left Oklahoma in a long lasting state of unmotivated rebuilding work. Another crazy thing to learn is that Oklahoma and Kansas werent the only ones hit by this punch of wind and rain, but Texas as well. In fact the actual end of this storms suprise attack on civilization ended three days later on May 6th, 1999. How do you react to something of that stature? Mostly what people did was what anyone else would do; ask for help. One storm, three states, bunch of money, and tragic uprisings are only few of the things the May 3rd Torando event brought to the lives of americans that unforgetful day.

What We Learned

Coming off from a instant natural disaster like this one you have to think. Through all the trajedies that happened and the worst being over, what can we learn and take advantage of in this expirence to prevent a unexpexed repeat of it in the future times? Well thats exactly what we came together and did! Immediatley after the tornado storms on May 3rd, many ground surveys were taken for the people that survived the worst of the worst. Data collected from each individual who participated was analyzed and used in helping the NOAA discover the information they needed. High resolution Doppler HD radar data was analyzed as well, giving us more and more peices to fixing the puzzle. Areial views showed us interesting facts that explained how this storm became so powerful. Everything we had was working together to find our solution to the unpredictable problem of mother nature.

The effects of this particular event were to be seen as monsterous. Its for sure that storm chasers were giving the ride of a lifetime. Everything and anything that happened to be in the path of the storms had been brytally and phisically destroyed. Damage was breathtaking, and the rebuilding stage was soon to start. Most of the thing thats happened during that day are now recoreded and improved upon. Its not say that we know everything about what happened, but they are darn close. In the event that something like this were ever to happen again, due to May 3rd, 1999, we would all be a lot more prepared to take on the thrill of "Mother Nature".