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May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011

El Reno Mesonet measures 151 mph wind gust

The Oklahoma Mesonet site located 5 miles WNW of El Reno had a very close
encounter with a tornado last night. The twister in question was the long-track
violent tornado that first touched down north of Lookeba.


During that encounter, the Mesonet site recorded a maximum wind gust of 151 mph,
with a 1-minute average wind speed of 115 mph. The 1-minute average wind speed
amounts to 20 samples averaged together. Definitely a bad hair day for the El
Reno Mesonet site.

The meteogram with that data included is quite striking. The 150.8 mph wind
gust stands out, obviously, as as does the sudden drop in pressure as the
tornado approached and either grazed or passed over the Mesonet site.


If we drill down to the 1-minute data, however, we get a more complete picture.
This view displays the 1-minute data from 4-5 p.m.


At 4:21 p.m., the maximum wind gust (WX1M - light blue) jumped to 150.8 mph and
the average wind speed for that minute (WS1M - dark blue) came in at 115.3 mph.
The instrument that measured that wind speed is an RM Young Wind Monitor:


On the meteogram, our 2-meter wind (W21M - red line) measurements had an
average wind speed of 79.2 mph and a maximum gust of 126 mph before obviously
failing. That instrument is an RM Young Wind Sentry cup anemometer:


It's unclear at this time whether it failed due to the high winds or possibly
wind-driven hail. A look at the observations through time:

Time Max Gust Avg Speed Wind Direction Pressure
(mph) (mph) (degrees) (mb)
4:18 p.m. 61 47 207 947.0
4:19 p.m. 66 53 173 946.5
4:20 p.m. 131 81 159 936.6
4:21 p.m. 151 115 256 929.1
4:22 p.m. 91 77 294 940.5
4:23 p.m. 56 40 329 942.9

The 151 mph wind gust tops our previous Mesonet record of 113 mph, recorded
at the Lahoma site on August 17, 1994. That measurement was not associated
with a tornado and the wind instrument failed after being pelted with
wind-driven large hail. Even the El Reno AVERAGE wind speed of 115 mph tops
that Lahoma gust, but we must remember the Lahoma wind instrument failed.

The Mesonet's 100 mph gusts:

May 24, 2011: 151 mph at El Reno
May 24, 2011: 131 mph at El Reno
August 17, 1994: 113 mph at Lahoma
May 4, 2006: 106 mph at Idabel
November 9, 1998: 102 mph at Bowlegs

We will hopefully update this Ticker with pictures from the site sometime later

Gary McManus
Associate State Climatologist
Oklahoma Climatological Survey
(405) 325-2253

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