Oklahoma Tornado is the Widest Ever

2.6 mile-wide twister killed 19

moore oklahoma tornado twister friday 2.6 miles wide

Moore, OK, May 22, 2013--Aerial views of the damage caused by the tornado that touched down in the area on May 20, 2013. FEMA continues to assist disaster survivors and are encouraged to register for assistance. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA     Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A deadly tornado that formed outside Oklahoma City last Friday is now officially the widest on record. Not to be confused with the massive tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, the Friday tornado that struck El Reno measured a whopping 2.6 miles in diameter, with winds of nearly 300 mph.

The National Weather Service initially rated the tornado as an EF3, but upgraded it to an EF5 after surveying the damage and measuring the winds. Nineteen people were killed in the storm, including three storm chasers.

The record-breaking twister struck the countryside between El Reno and Union City, an area composed mostly of farmland and grazing areas. According to the Weather Service’s chief warning coordination meteorologist, Rick Smith, the toll would have been much greater if the twister had struck in a more densely populated area. "Any house would have been completely swept clean on the foundation," Smith said.