The National Weather Service just gave the tornado that struck Oklahoma this week its highest rating of EF-5 due to its high wind speed and the breadth and severity of damage. Several meteorologists used real-time measurements to calculate the energy released during the storm’s life span – and they estimated that it released anywhere from 8 to 600 times the power of an atomic bomb.

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According to these weather experts, the tornado generated wind speeds of between 200 mph (320 kph) and 210 mph (337 kph). That coupled with the fact that the tornado was at some points 1.3 miles wide, and the level of devastation was set to be enormous.

According to Harold Brooks at the National Severe Storms Laboratory, less than 1% of all US tornadoes carry the impact that was seen in Moore, where the tornado traveled over 17 miles through through the area in a 40 minute period. Creating widespread devastation throughout the Oklahoma City suburb, the storm claimed 24 lives, including those of nine children.

While some commentators have put forward their own ideas about why the hurricane was so devastating, experts have attributed the devastation to a ‘perfect storm’ situation of warm, moist air and strong wind shear’ in such a balance as to create the highly destructive tornado.

Here are a few ways you can help:

Architecture for Humanity Architecture for Humanity has launched a campaign to Rebuild Moore. They are currently working with local construction professionals to begin rebuilding work, and you can donate to support their work here.

The Salvation Army Text GIVE to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the Salvation Army of Oklahoma or mail donations to:

Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command P.O. Box 2095 Oklahoma City, OK 73101

The United Way Make donations online at United Way or by sending a letter with notation for May Tornado Relief to

United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101

+ National Weather Service