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May 5, 2021 Tornado Outbreak
Date of tornado outbreak: May 5, 2021
Duration1: 21 Hours
Maximum rated tornado2: EF5 tornado
Tornadoes caused: 421 (record)
Highest winds:
Largest hail:
Damages: $32 Billion
Fatalities: 500
Areas affected: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas

1Time from first tornado to last tornado
2Most severe tornado damage; see Fujita Scale

The May 5, 2021 Tornado Outbreak is the largest and one of the most deadliest tornado outbreaks in U.S. History. It affected 15 states within a 21 hour time period. This tornado outbreak spawned 421 tornadoes (mostly in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida) and caused $32 Billion dollars in damage. Alongside the tornadoes, straight line wind damage in excess of 100 MPH was reported throughout Oklahoma and Central Florida. Several waterspouts were reported in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of beaches in Florida. The tornado outbreak was associated with a cold front that brings record breaking cold weather to the Plains, Midwest, South, Mid Atlantic, and the Northeastern states.

Before the Tornado Outbreak

About a week before the tornado outbreak, computer models were predicting a record breaking severe weather event in the plains, Midwest, and the Southern portions of the United States. One Meteorologist at TV station KOCO in Oklahoma City says "If you do not have a NOAA weather radio, buy one before Wednesday." About two days before May 5, The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma issues a High Risk of severe weather from Florida westward to Texas and Oklahoma. The worst parts of the storm were expected to hit Oklahoma while other strong storms occur in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Originally, the National Weather Service predicted at least 450 tornadoes from this setup, but then they changed their predictions to around 415. Meteorologists named this tornado outbreak "Super Outbreak III" (The Super Outbreak was the April 3, 1974 outbreak and Super Outbreak II was the April 25-28, 2011 tornado outbreak) about two days before the storm occured because how powerful the storm is.


Severe Weather Outlook for May 5, 2021.