Tornado numbers still at all-time lows for the modern record.
CLEVELAND - On May 20, in the heart of Tornado Alley, residents of Moore, Oklahoma watched in awe as a spinning tempest of wind quickly, effortlessly evolved into this destructive twister. It took less than 30 minutes for a seemingly harmless cumulus cloud to strengthen and produce the deadliest tornado of the year.
A team of meteorologists from Ohio State University found themselves directly in the storm's path. Chelsey Cassady, of Ashtabula, was one of the team leaders that day. She and her team saw the tornado coming right at them. They managed to outmaneuver the storm, just in time to watch it churn by.
"Once we realized what it was doing, it was terrifying," Cassady said. "And we knew we would have to do something to help out."
What it was doing was ripping apart more than 2,400 homes and businesses across a 17-mile path through Newcastle and Moore, Oklahoma. The tornado, with wind speeds above 200 miles per hour, was rated an EF-5 on the enhanced Fujita damage scale. It's the highest rating a tornado can have. It killed 24 people and injured more than 200.
"Seeing how quickly it can go from being a funnel cloud to an EF-4 tornado, EF-5 baffled me," Cassady said.
Cassady is one of hundreds of storm chasers that crowd the Plain States every spring during tornado season. Some, she says, do it for fun, others, like her OSU teammates have a more important role. They are there to study a tornado's behavior in hopes of saving lives.
"We are just striving to help out, you know, to understand it better by watching it," said the Ohio State University grad.
But even chasers can find themselves in dangerous situations. Her team lost all communications during the height of the storm, no cell phones or Internet. They relied, instead, on a NOAA weather radio, which she believes every family should have in their home and business. She cautions everyone to not take severe weather warnings lightly.
"Warnings pop up and people are like 'Oh, that never happens here.' They ignore it, and that's not something you can do."
Cassady and the entire Ohio State chase team plan on visiting Moore, Oklahoma again this year to help them rebuild. If you'd like to help, they have a Facebook page with information. It's called "Buckeyes for Moore."
It's official, an EF1 tornado touches down south of Orrville in Wayne County.
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After severe damage caused by a tornado, Ursuline College has reopened for business.
Jamie Orr walked Ursuline College's campus on Monday still reeling from how close she came to being struck by a tor
Residents remove trees and branches from yards. Ursuline College community turns out to view damage on campus. Pepper Pike mayor may need help from regional sewer district to remove trees and branches from creeks.
Four tornadoes touched down in northeast Ohio during Wednesday's storms, according to the National Weather Service.
National Weather Service in Pittsburgh has confirmed that a tornado hit Mineral City Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Ashland County near Rowsburg Wednesday night.
A possible tornado touchdown was reported in Seneca County Monday night.