A tornado warning remains in effect for parts of southern Oklahoma and parts of western Oklahoma for another week, but the damage is likely to be much worse than predicted.
Key points:More than 40 tornadoes are forecast to hit Oklahoma in the next 24 hoursThe tornadoes could cause damage worth millions of dollarsThe National Weather Service (NWS) said some damage was estimated at $1 billion to $3 billionIn a statement on Tuesday, the NWS said that the damage to buildings was expected to be around $1 million per structure, but it was too early to say how much damage was expected from each type of tornado.
“A strong and damaging tornado can cause a significant damage,” the statement said.
“It could cause a building to collapse or damage a roadway.”
The tornado warning has been in place for most of the week, with more than 40 twisters predicted to strike the state over the next four days.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a second tornado watch for western Oklahoma, and a tornado watch is in effect in parts of south-east Texas.
“In the next few days, there is a chance that some of these tornadoes will be damaging structures, damaging roads and potentially damaging homes and businesses,” NHC meteorologist Mike Ries said.”[We have] a strong possibility that some tornado damage is coming down in western Oklahoma.”
He said the damage from the next tornado could be as much as $1.5 billion.
“There’s a lot of damage coming down, but not as much from the damage that we saw last week,” he said.’
Tremendous risk’The NWS is advising people in western and southern Oklahoma to stay indoors and stay away from storm surges.
“If you’re planning to go outside, we urge you to keep your windows and doors locked, and keep your vehicles and pets inside,” Ries added.
The NHC said the storm surge risk will be higher in areas of Oklahoma with a lot rainfall, like southern Oklahoma.
“We anticipate a significant increase in the intensity of some of the tornadoes that will occur this weekend,” the NHC statement said, noting that the storm surges would likely be up to 10 metres (32 feet).
“While the storm is developing, we expect the threat of tornadoes to increase significantly, particularly from late afternoon through early evening.”‘
More damage to structures’Oklahoma is already dealing with its worst tornado season in decades.
The state recorded 1,749 tornadoes in 2017, an average of more than 100 tornadoes per day.
“This is the strongest season since 1985,” the state meteorologist Scott Noll said.
He said that number could be higher if there are more tornadoes, and if a lot rain falls in Oklahoma.”[A tornado] does have a high probability of damaging buildings, even if it is not a very large tornado, and damaging roads,” Mr Noll added.
“And we are seeing the impacts of this storm.”
Mr Noll is the chief meteorologist for the Oklahoma City Area Weather Co-ordination Center.
“The tornado season is still very active,” he added.
He predicted that the number of tornados will drop significantly this weekend.
“I’m predicting an average number of one to two tornadoes on Saturday night,” Mr Ries predicted.”[That’s] not bad, but I’m also saying that they’re not going to be a major threat until we see the storms coming from north of us on Sunday night.”
More to come.