Oklahoma Tornado Officially the Widest Ever Recorded in the U.S.


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The tornado that hit just outside of El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31 is officially the widest tornado ever recorded in U.S. history.

The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) today declared that the tornado was 2.6 miles wide at its widest point. It has been upgraded to an EF-5 rating, and reportedly had wind speeds "well over" 200 miles per hour. The tornado began just after 6 pm and ended 40 minutes later, having traveled 16.2 miles.

Hundreds of Oklahomans were injured due to the tornado, and at least nine people died. The size of the tornado, coupled with its erratic movement, caused many people to be caught in the path of the storm.

Among the dead were storm chaser Tim Samaras, his 24-year-old son Paul Samaras, and their colleague Carl Young. The men were once part of the Discovery Channel reality TV show Storm Chasers. Another amateur storm chaser was also killed during the storm, and a Weather Channel meteorologist was injured when his truck was thrown 200 yards by the tornado.