A Time-Lapse and Footage of the Tornado That Struck Oklahoma

A devastating tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, May 20, 2013. It was reportedly over 2 miles wide at one point, and covered 20 miles during the 40 minutes it was on the ground. The National Weather Service has classified it as at least an EF-4 tornado with winds of at least 166 miles per hour.

NBC affiliate station WMC-TV had a helicopter camera in the sky capturing the whole thing, and released the time-lapse video above showing the storm traveling across the land before finally disappearing back into the clouds.

The 2013 Oklahoma City tornado as it passed through south Oklahoma City.

The 2013 Oklahoma City tornado as it passed through south Oklahoma City. Photograph by Ks0stm

The tornado was also extremely well documented by cameras and gutsy storm chasers (and ordinary folk) on the ground. Here are some of the videos that were uploaded to the web just hours after the storm struck:

One family even had its camera rolling as it emerged from their storm shelter and surveyed the destruction:

Photo galleries of the tornado and its aftermath can be found on The Denver Post’s Plog and The Atlantic’s InFocus. USA Today has published a list of relief organizations you can donate to if you’d like to help the victims of this disaster.

  • John Goldsmith

    Absolutely devastating. Needless to say, RIP to those who lost their lives and the survivors who lost everything else. So sad.

    For the sake of science and an education of the powerful and scale of these storms are, I’m thankful for what I saw here. The footage is incredible. Those are also incredibly brave videographers, not that I would recommend anyone doing this. But I can hardly believe the footage including the first showing the what must be massive electrical sparks as the winds rip apart power lines. Even scarier, these storms are only going to get more powerful as we continue to heat the planet.

  • Steven White

    Great footage, thanks for sharing…

  • bob

    This is like the new fixie sensation for hipster weather photog wannabes,,, boring and immature

  • David Campbell

    my n℮ighbℴr’s aunt mak℮s $76 ℮v℮ry hℴur ℴn th℮ ℂℴmput℮r. Sh℮ has b℮℮n un℮mplℴy℮d fℴr ℮ight mℴnths but last mℴnth h℮r payℂh℮ck was $15553 just wℴrking ℴn the ℂℴmput℮r fℴr a f℮w hℴurs. H℮r℮’s th℮ sit℮ to r℮ad mℴr℮………. Fℴx85 ℂℴm

  • Michael Palmer

    That’s one brave / stupid helicopter pilot. Tis a fine line at times.

  • osam

    Umm, what?

  • macu..lae

    RIP to those who lost their lives.That’s just devastating.

    These storm chaser people are crazy. I’d be more like the girl in the first storm chaser video posted, “we should get in the car”. How can people know for sure what the path of the tornado will be? Doesn’t it often deviate from where people think it’ll go?

  • Michael

    Typically if you stay to the west (particularly southwest) of a tornado you will be in a safe position to observe from as in most cases they track east-north east.

  • Dr. Frank Simon 

    I just wish they would stop mentioning God and would realise that this increase frequency of tornadoes is caused by global warming.

  • Dr. Frank Simon 

    I just wish they would stop mentioning God and would realise that this increase frequency of tornadoes is caused by global warming.

  • Robin Pierce

    (this seems off topic but its a general comment in response to seeing many such disasters in my lifetime…its related.)

    Religious people may want to consider that when they say ‘thank god for sparing my life’ or ‘thank god that so many survived this disaster’ by stating that you believe that an omnipotent being intentionally chose to spare anyone….implies also that you believe that the same omnipotent being intentionally chose to kill the ones who died, including children, babies, and pets.

    Religious texts say things like ‘god smites the wicked’ but really, everyone dies eventually. I know you who are religious will now think ‘she doesn’t understand, god works in mysterious ways, he has his reasons’ and all I can think is ‘yeah I am the confused one’ because those little kids, they weren’t wicked, they didn’t do anything worse than any other normal kids do. (Thinking about this, the god-being might be using their deaths to make a statement about population control, birth control, or abortion advocacy. Hard to say, you know, that whole ‘mysterious’ thing works in every direction.)

    If you ever have the opportunity to comfort someone who has lost a loved one,
    for whatever reason….to tell them in their grief that ‘god works in mysterious ways’ at that point sounds like a really cruel thing to say.

  • Gary

    I agree. God had nothing to do with this. This is nature. Its just ridiculous to attribute a weather phenomenon of this magnitude to anything other than that. To believe in a god who would actually cause this, besides being infantile and insane, is decidedly NOT helpful to anyone. In the footage shot by the poor folks who recorded the damage right after the storm left, someone said “god giveth and god taketh away”. Really? Give me a break.

  • Mithun

    Actually, 2013 has seen an extreme tornado drought compared to other years, and there has been, if anything, a slight decrease in severe tornadoes over the last fifty years. The fact is, there is no hard scientific evidence connecting climate change to tornado frequency. Blindly blaming any weather occurrence on global warming is no better than blaming God. But hey, you’re a doctor.

  • Sarsha Braim

    I think that it is good to have a religion . . . I don’t have one . . . but I don’t mind that I don’t. I feel really bad for everyone involved. RIP to the ones who have died. I send my condolences to the whole of the US but I really feel for Oklahoma. You can’t feel too bad, just pick yourself up and clean up. It’s a time to start over. Good Luck! :)