Weather forecasters are predicting the potential of grapefruit-sized hail and tornadoes across Central America today. As a result of the frightening forecast, numerous Oklahoma schools have cancelled classes and events in a bid to keep children out of harm’s way. The news comes following the 2013 deaths of seven schoolchildren in a Moore, Oklahoma, after a large tornado hit the school.
The Daily Mail reports that a number of schools across Midwest America have cancelled classes after a sinister forecast warns residents of the potential of tornadoes and grapefruit-sized hail. Though most of the severe weather is slated to arrive Tuesday evening, the chance of severe weather exists throughout the day. Some school districts, such as those in central Oklahoma, are being more cautious with the storms considering the tragic 2013 deaths of seven schoolchildren when a tornado touched down in Moore, Oklahoma. Following the tragedy, in which the school received very little warning of the impending tornado, schools are taking the “better safe than sorry” approach to predicted wicked weather.
Meteorologist Matt Mosier says that forecasters have made great strides in recent years to predict the potential of severe weather, specifically long-track tornadoes. However, he says that things can change rapidly when storms arrive, and it is impossible to fully predict exactly when and where a tornado may touch down.
“We shouldn’t assume that we’re going to have a lot of information — you know, a lot of lead time. We may or we may not. It’s never straightforward when you’re sitting here talking about (predicting) large tornadoes. We’re trying to be as confident or as accurate as we can.”
With the unpredictability of the storm, Mid-Del Public Schools in Midwest City, Oklahoma, cancelled classes for the day. However, it wasn’t just the Midwest City schools who are taking precautions. Fifty-three different schools and churches have cancelled classes, closed early, or cancelled evening events in the Oklahoma City metro due to the predicted storms. The northeast Oklahoma area is also preparing for the worst as Tulsa Public Schools has cancelled all evening activities as storms are expected to roll into the area this evening.
Oklahoma isn’t just dealing with the potential of severe storms in the area. This morning, it was reported that a magnitude-4.0 earthquake was experienced in Lincoln County, with numerous residents reportedly feeling the shakes.
The earthquake began as residents in the area were placed under a severe thunderstorm warning. Though the most severe storms are expected this evening, smaller storms are already hitting the area with severe storm warnings across the state. The storms are slated to arrive around 6 or 7 p.m. CST, with large tornadoes predicted in central Oklahoma. Meteorologist and storm chaser Reed Timmer is warning his fans of the potential threat noting that it seems the “system is really digging in” and will possibly be “stronger than previously forecast.”
Warning Aware details the storm noting the largest threat for tornadoes in north central Oklahoma along with portions of northeastern Kansas. The warning notes that portions of Oklahoma, Kansas, North Texas, and Nebraska are at risk for grapefruit-sized hail.
“The tornado threat has been upgraded to the high (4/5) category in two locations within the broader risk area: 1. Near I-70 corridor in vicinity of outflow boundary around 4-7 pm with enhanced low level shear, and 2. western OK into southern KS along dry line especially after 6-7 pm when low-level wind shear increases. The only factor preventing a further upgrade is relatively weak low-level storm relative helicity throughout the warm sector through most of the day, and uncertainties regarding how long the supercells contain remain isolated through evening. Regardless, any supercell from southern NE, KS, OK, and North Texas will have the likelihood of producing of producing very, very large hail to the size of grapefruits.”
Do you think local schools made the right decision in cancelling classes ahead of the monster storm expected to hit Central America this evening?
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