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February 7, 2014

Oklahoma behind Texas in twister total

NORMAN — Oklahoma had the second-highest number of tornadoes in 2013, behind Texas, as well as the nation’s strongest storm of the year and the widest twister on record.

Statistics prepared ahead of next week’s National Tornado Summit showed Oklahoma’s 79 tornadoes were well above the average of 57. Texas had 81 tornadoes last year.

Oklahoma typically ranks fourth in the number of tornadoes, behind Texas, Florida and Kansas.

Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, told the Tulsa World newspaper the national total of 898 tornadoes was well below the normal amount — about 1,000.

“It was a well-above-average year for Oklahoma,” Carbin said. The state had 145 tornadoes in 1999, its most since official records started in 1950.

The May 20 tornado in Moore killed two dozen people, and was the year’s only storm rated EF5, the highest on a scale of tornado damage.

The widest storm on record — 2.6 miles across — was recorded at El Reno 11 days later. It had winds approaching 300 mph but its damage was rated at EF3 because it tracked mainly in rural areas.

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