The tornado that ripped through El Reno, Okla., late last week, killing 19, was the widest tornado ever recorded, meteorologists confirmed today, also upgrading the twister to an EF-5, the highest category.
The El Reno tornado, which tore a 16.2-mile path Friday, hitting highways during rush hour, had originally been categorized as an EF-3.
The deadly twister also broke records as the widest tornado ever recorded — 2.6 miles at its maximum width — since the agency started keeping track more than 60 years ago.
The previous record had been set by a tornado in 2004 in Hallam, Neb., that had a width of 2.5 miles wide.
That put the tornado at twice the width of the Moore, Okla., tornado that touched down near Oklahoma City on May 20, killing at least 24, including nine children. That twister cut a 12-mile-long path of destruction from Newcastle to Moore and was also categorized as an EF-5.
The Joplin, Mo., tornado that killed more than 100 in 2011, making it the single most deadly twister in 60 years, was three-quarters of a mile wide.
The death toll from Friday’s storms included six children and well-known meteorologist and storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and fellow storm chaser Carl Young.
ABC News’ David Kerley, Max Golembo and Ginger Zee contributed to this story.