It has come to my attention that the tornado width ascribed to the El Reno tornado in my previous post is not quite accurate. On the topic, Josh Wurman writes,
“That is a ridiculous interpretation, out of context, of the observation that the width of 30 m/s winds at >100 m AGL sometimes extended for about 7 km and that the equivalent 50 m/s width was as wide as 5 km. How those correlate to expected surface damage is unknown. The paper has a long footnote saying that using these definitions as ‘width’ is very subjective. The diameter of the large circulation was about 2 km, very large, but similar to other Multiple Vortex Mesocyclones (MVMC) that we’ve documented before.”
I believe the confusion lies in the definitions contained within the conference paper. In the paper, Wurman seems to equate the multiple-vortex mesocyclone (MVMC) with the tornado itself, noting that an interior sub-vortex was “nearly concentric with the larger tornado / MVMC” (Wurman et al. 2013, AMS Radar Conference). The slash would seem to indicate the interchangeability of the terms “tornado” and “MVMC”. However, this is not the case. In an early online release of the BAMS article of this work, it is clear that the 7 km (4.3 mi) width is ascribed to the parent circulation, not the tornado. My previous post has been edited to reflect this understanding.
Regardless, the 2.6 mile width will remain in the record books, according to the National Weather Service.