Simulation of Oklahoma’s 2011 “El Reno” tornado

In May 2011, several tornadoes touched down over the Oklahoma landscape across a four-day span. One after the other, supercells spawned funnel clouds that caused significant property damage and loss of life. On May 24, one tornado in particular – the “El Reno” – registered as an EF-5, the strongest tornado category on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It remained on the ground for nearly two hours and left a path of destruction 63-miles long. Leigh Orf, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, used the Blue Waters Supercomputer the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to simulate that tornado in order to better understand how it formed and intensified.