May 3, 1999, 6:23 p.m.
301 mph (484 km/h)
36 fatalities (+5 indirect) 583 injuries
F5 or F6
$1 billion (1999 USD)
$1.5 billion (2014 USD)
The Bridge Creek–Moore tornado, often referred locally as the May 3rd Tornado, was an extremely powerful F5 tornado in which the highest wind speeds ever measured globally were recorded. A wind speed of 301 mph, or 484 km/h, was recorded by a Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar. The tornado devastated southern portions of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, along with surrounding suburbs and towns during the early evening of Monday, May 3, 1999.
The tornado covered 38 miles (61 km) during its 85-minute existence, destroying thousands of homes, killing 36 people (plus an additional five indirectly), and leaving US$1 billion (1999 USD) in damages. This ranks it as the fifth-costliest tornado on record, not account for inflation.
The tornado first touched down at 6:23 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) in Grady County, Oklahoma, roughly two miles (3.2 km) south-southwest of Amber, Oklahoma. It quickly intensified into a violent F4, and gradually reached F5 status after traveling 6.5 miles (10.5 km), at which time it struck the town of Bridge Creek. It fluctuated in strength, ranging from F2 to F5 status before it crossed into Cleveland County where it reached F5 intensity for a third time shortly before entering the city of Moore. By 7:30 p.m., the tornado crossed into Oklahoma County and battered southeastern Oklahoma City, Del City, and Midwest City before dissipating around 7:48 p.m. just outside Midwest City. A total of 8,132 homes, 1,041 apartments, 260 businesses, 11 public buildings, and 7 churches were damaged or destroyed.