NORMAN — Aware, not afraid, is the approach meteorologists with the National Weather Service are encouraging regarding the possibility of tornadoes Wednesday and Thursday.
Rick Smith, warning coordination meteorologist in the Norman office, said Tuesday, “Right now, the tornado potential doesn't look to be anything like what we saw last week.”
However, he said they always keep in mind that it only takes one storm and one tornado to have a significant impact. The focus is mainly going to be west of Interstate 35 on Wednesday, and will shift more into central Oklahoma on Thursday, Smith said. The situation could change this week, and so it is important to continue to monitor the weather for updates.
“I think between now and the end of the week, a lot of us are going to see storms with some hail and wind,” Smith said, “But again, the chances of tornadoes are not as high as they were last Sunday and Monday, based on what we're looking at right now.”
There had been 16 tornadoes recorded in Oklahoma so far this year going into May, according to the National Weather Service's preliminary statistics.
Gary McManus, of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, said, “May was cruising along much cooler than normal with few tornado chances through the first 18 days. Two very weak tornadoes struck in those first 18 days.”
However, May 19 and 20 brought at least 19 tornadoes, including two EF2s, one EF3, one EF4 and one EF5, with more information still being collected by the National Weather Service.
“We know that people are paying attention to the weather this week more than ever,” Smith said. “We certainly don't want anybody to be afraid or overly nervous about the possibility of severe weather. We just want you to be aware of what can happen.
“Just pay attention to the local weather. We'll try our best to let you know if it looks serious. Right now it's kind of a late May pattern that is not that unusual for us here in Oklahoma.”