Does it feel a bit like January out there Wednesday? Your skin did not deceive you.
A cold system from the Gulf of Alaska had settled into the Pacific Northwest, bringing not only a steady winter-like rain but has kept temperatures stuck in the 40s(!) through much of the day.
In fact, at 1 p.m., Portland was hovering at 46 degrees -- about the average high for mid-January.
The Rose City would finish the day with a high of 50 degrees --- the second coldest May day on record -- for any date! It shattered the daily record for coldest high temperature on May 22 which had been a "balmy" 55.
It was so chilly in the Northwest that Portland was given the "honor" as the coldest major city in the United States! (Even colder than Seattle (52) and Anchorage (54), although if you add in smaller cities, tied with Spokane, Washington, also at 50.)
That might not seem very long -- roughly about the time it takes to wade through your hourly drama if you blaze through commercials. But compared to a few decades ago, 36 minutes of time might have saved countless lives during the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma on Monday.
Years ago, the residents of Moore would have likely had no idea the tornado was coming until the twister was sighted, giving people barely a few minutes' notice. But thanks to advancements in technology, tornadoes rarely sneak up on anyone anymore.
In fact, forecasters as early as Wednesday began sounding the alarm for a potential severe weather breakout on Sunday and Monday. And, on Friday, the forecasts became more specific. On Monday, a Tornado Watch, which indicates conditions are right for tornadic development, was issued at 1:10 p.m. for much of Oklahoma, including the greater Oklahoma City area.
With tornadoes in the news lately I figured it'd be a good time to post answers to some frequently asked questions about the powerful storms:
What does "EF-4" mean?
WIth the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, you'll be hearing a lot of about "EF" ratings -- that's from the Enhanced Fujita Scale that rates tornadoes on a scale of 0 to 5, 5 being the strongest.
The Moore tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF-4 ("Devastating") with estimated tornadic wind speeds of up to 200 mph, although many are thinking that rating could be increased to an EF-5 ("Incredible") once more damage assessment is done.
Sadly, it's not the first time Moore has had to deal with such a catastrophic storm. On May 3, 1999, Moore was struck by an EF-5 tornado which recorded the strongest wind speed ever registered near Earth's surface. this map provided by the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma shows just how close the two tracks were.