How I Used RadarScope To Track The Oklahoma Tornado

Posted by Andrew Stevens on May 24th, 2013
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It could have easily happened that my life would have taken me down the road of becoming a meteorologist. However, that didn’t happen and I found myself becoming a journalist instead. My passion for weather is still present and I have a good understanding of meteorology and tornadoes from my light studies of the subject in the past.

A friend of mine, a meteorologist himself, recently made me aware of RadarScope, a professional level app that is perfect for meteorologists and weather enthusiasts. I purchased it and started documenting the features of the app immediately; that’s how much I love weather.

Last weekend was primed for a significantly severe weather outbreak and I used the radar app to follow and track storms. On Monday, however, I decided to fully document some of the features and take multiple screen caps to showcase what the app could do. That led me to fully tracking the storm that eventually, and unfortunately, hit Moore, Oklahoma.

RadarScope provides native radar data rendered in its original radial form and allows you to view NEXRAD Level 3 radar data in great detail. That basically means it’s the best radar app you can possibly get for your iPhone or iPad.

I’m going to try and keep this as simple as possible, keeping it easy to read and understand without providing too much of a school lesson.

When tracking the storm that eventually hit the town of Moore, the first thing I looked for in the app was a hook echo that shows up on radar, a strong indicator that a tornado may be forming. A hook echo is a hook that forms on the southern part of the storm, indicating areas of rotation. Then, I took a look at the velocity within the storm to see if there was a confined area of motion with opposites that were touching each other (motion toward and away from the radar). That indicates rotation and a possible tornado.

I’m going to share images that show both of those indications. Radarscope provides local radars along with personal location data that can show you your exact location compared to the storm. It also provides storm tracks that can indicate what direction the storm is moving and a measuring tool that tells you how many miles away you are from the storm. You can also visit Base Velocity’s website to learn more about how the app works.

I had been following the storms as they developed, but here is the first radar image I took after a noticeable hook took shape.

Next is the velocity that indicates storm motion. You can see a bright red and green touching each other, indicating tight circulation.

After that, I took notice of what town or towns might be in the path of the storm and used the storm tracks tool along with the distance tool to mark it.

These snapshots were taken in real time; I had no idea just how much the storm was going to intensify and what the ensuing damage was going to be. The following images are in order and show the intensification of the storm.

Tornadoes are extremely fascinating and I love watching them, but only when they are in an open field. It’s a horrible feeling when you can visually see a storm intensify on radar and know it’s heading towards a town or city. That’s the moment when all meteorologists and storm chasers hold their breath and wait, hoping for the best possible outcome. It’s crushing and leaves nothing but heartache when you see a tornado completely destroy a town. The only thing left to do at that point is hope people are prepared, pay attention to their local meteorologists, have a weather radio or app that alerts them to the danger, and then do everything else you possibly can to help the recovery process.

Go to to learn more about how you can help.

Our thoughts go out to all that were affected by the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.


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iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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Apple Watch Screenshots

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Apple TV Screenshots

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Posted in: News
Tagged With: Meteorology, Tornado, RadarScope, Oklahoma
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