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Widest U.S. Tornado on Record Strikes near Oklahoma City June 7, 2013
Satellite Image
Multiple funnels from the El Reno tornado can be seen spinning to the southwest of Oklahoma City on May 31.
A deadly tornado that struck just west of Oklahoma City on May 31 was the widest ever recorded in the United States and had the most powerful classification on the five-point enhanced Fujita (EF) scale.

The 2.6-mile-wide twister struck at rush hour, killing three storm chasers, who died when the massive whirlwind picked up and destroyed their vehicle.

Maximum wind speeds reached 295 mph, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

In all, 19 people died in the storm and accompanying flash floods.

It was the second deadly EF5 twister to strike the Oklahoma City area in less than two weeks.

Live images and warnings on TV on latest tornado near the suburb of El Reno sent motorists onto streets and highways trying to drive to safety.

But many wound up in the direct path of the tornado and were forced to abandon their vehicles and find shelter where they could.

Some of the victims who didn't were sucked from their cars or had their vehicles tossed from the road.

Fortunately, the El Reno tornado had reached its greatest width and intensity over a rural area, where few structures were in its way.

Photo: KWTV Oklahoma City