The Largest Tornado Ever Recorded

The 2013 El Reno tornado in Oklahoma is widely considered to be the largest tornado ever recorded, based on width. On May 31, 2013, the massive tornado reached a width of 2.6 miles and speeds of up to 301 mph. It lasted about 40 minutes, and by the end of it, eight people were killed — all in their vehicles. Three of those people were experienced storm chasers. In addition to the fatalities, the El Reno tornado injured over 150 people. Oddly enough, it was only recorded as an EF3, rather than an EF5, because the storm didn’t do enough damage to achieve a higher rating. Now, in the age of mobile Doppler radar and other sophisticated tracking techniques, scientists are asking if the rating system needs an overhaul to include measurements of maximum wind speeds.