The tornado events of 3 May 1999 within the county warning area of the Norman, Oklahoma, office of the National Weather Service are reviewed, emphasizing the challenges associated with obtaining accurate information about the existence, timing, location, and intensity of individual tornadoes. Accurate documentation of tornado and other hazardous weather events is critical to research, is needed for operational assessments, and is important for developing hazard mitigation strategies. The situation following this major event was unusual because of the high concentration of meteorologists in the area, relative to most parts of the United States. As a result of this relative abundance of resources, it is likely that these tornadoes were reasonably well documented. Despite this unique situation in central Oklahoma, it is argued that this event also provides evidence of a national need for a rapid-response scientific and engineering survey team to provide documentation of major hazardous weather events before cleanup destroys important evidence.
Current affiliation: Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, Norman, Oklahoma
Corresponding author address: Douglas Speheger, National Weather Service, 1200 Westheimer Dr., Room 101, Norman, OK 73069-7902. Email: email@example.com