Oklahoma Climatological Survey

The Tornado Outbreaks of May 2003

Event Summary 

The month of May 2003 brought an unprecedented number of tornadoes to the United States. Oklahoma received its fair share, including tornadoes that struck the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in successive days. Other areas of the state received significant severe weather as well.

The Storm Prediction Center, an office of the National Weather service which has responsibility to monitor and forecast severe weather for the entire United States, compiled the reports of severe weather for this outbreak. For the period of May 8-10, SPC reported:

  • To understand and apply Storm Prediction Center (SPC) categorical and probabilistic convective outlooks.
  • To compare the presentation of classic supercells thunderstorm between a close and far radar
  • To understand and apply the advisory and warning products issued by a local NWS office during an event. Specific products include tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings, special and severe statements, warning decision updates, and forecast and warning discussions.

Convective Outlook  
Outflow Boundary  
Thin line  
Event Data:
Event A: Southern Okla. (5/7 PM - 5/8 AM)

Event B: OKC/Red Rock (5/8 PM - 5/9 AM)

Event C: SW Okla/OKC (5/9 AM - 5/10 AM)

Event Exercise: Event A
Event Exercise: Event B
Click on "Event Data" for a new window with the information needed for the exercise."
Reference Material 
General Radar Interpretation
Thunderstorms and Tornadoes

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