OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – More than a dozen tornadoes struck the U.S. each day from May 3-11, 2003, including two days of tornado outbreaks that hit the Oklahoma City metro May 8 and 9.
May 8, 2003 was the second time a tornado emergency had ever been issued for Oklahoma (the first time being May 3, 1999).
May 9, 2003 was the third time. Another tornado emergency wouldn’t be issued again in the Sooner State until 10 years later on May 20, 2013.
Two tornadic supercells produced five tornadoes in Oklahoma the afternoon of May 8, 2003, including an F4 that hit Cleveland and Oklahoma counties.
One day later, a single supercell thunderstorm produced ten tornadoes in central Oklahoma, including one F3 and three F1 tornadoes in Oklahoma County.
It was the first time in recorded history the metro was hit by F3+ or stronger tornadoes on consecutive days. That also wouldn’t happen again for another decade on May 19 and 20, 2013.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, 144 Oklahomans were injured during those two days of storms. An 80-year-old man died days later due to injuries sustained in the May 9 Warr Acres tornado.
From May 8-9, 2003, over 2,500 homes were damaged, more than 400 were destroyed, five public buildings (including three schools) sustained major damage and more than 100 private businesses were damaged.