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U.S. media claims that the tornado that hit Oklahoma was more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
The National Weather Service graded it a EF-5 which means it was the top of the charts with wind speed and damage. They estimate that wind speeds were between 200-210 miles per hour!
Several meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements to calculate the energy released during the storm's life span of almost an hour. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb with more experts at the high end.
The tornado at some points was 1.3 miles wide, and its path went on for 17 miles and 40 minutes. That's long for a regular tornado but not too unusual for such a violent one, said research meteorologist Harold Brooks at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. Less than 1 percent of all U .S. tornadoes are this violent - only about 10 a year, he said.
With the third strong storm hitting Moore in 14 years, some people are wondering why Moore? It's a combination of geography, meteorology and lots of bad luck, experts said.
If you look at the climate history of tornadoes in May, you will see they cluster in a spot - maybe 100 miles wide - in central Oklahoma "and there's good reason for it," said Adam Houston, meteorology professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. That's the spot where the weather conditions of warm, moist air and strong wind shear needed for tornadoes combine in just the right balance.
The hot spot is more than just the city of Moore. Several meteorologists offer the same explanation for why that suburb seemed to be hit repeatedly by violent tornadoes: "bad luck."
Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others. They also are still trying to determine what effects, if any, global warming has on tornadoes.
"Tornadoes are perhaps the most difficult things to connect to climate change of any extreme," said NASA climate scientist Tony Del Genio. "Because we still don't understand all the factors required to get a tornado."