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Weather and Climate

Weather in Oklahoma can be extreme and dangerous. KGOU is committed to providing resources for being aware of the potential for weather events, continuous coverage when severe weather strikes, and a big-picture view of weather trends and topics.

Our partners in weather coverage are the National Weather Service for forecasts, experts at the National Weather Center, located at the campus of the University of Oklahoma, retired television weatherman and now OU's Consulting Meteorologist-in-Residence Gary England, and for severe weather outbreaks, KOCO-TV's live continuous coverage.

The tornado that devastated much of Moore, Okla., has drawn loads of donations from across the country: food, clothing, medical supplies, toys. Much of it is needed by the victims, but not everything.

After every disaster, relief groups usually ask for one thing: money. But writing a check or texting a donation isn't always that satisfying for those who want so desperately to help.

Friday Summary of Oklahoma Tornado News

May 24, 2013
Survivors of May's tornado look at a car damaged in the storm.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

  Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill that will allow the state to access $45 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund to help communities recover from tornado damage. Fallin on Friday signed a bill that the House and Senate passed unanimously in the wake of the deadly tornado that raked across the state on Monday, killing 24 people and injuring hundreds more. It allows the state to use the money to match federal disaster funds and for other "disaster-related assistance." The state's Rainy Day Fund, a constitutional reserve fund, currently has a balance of about $577 million. Up to 25 percent of the money can be accessed to pay for emergency-related expenses. The rest is reserved for when the state experiences budget shortfalls.

Governor Mary Fallin says Oklahoma isn't going to mandate storm shelters or safe rooms in the aftermath of the Moore tornado. The city's mayor wants to propose a city ordinance requiring all new homes to have storm shelters. But he says the city may only be able to require them for new assisted living facilities and apartment complexes.

The House and Senate on Friday, in response to the deadly twister that tore through the Oklahoma City area on Monday, passed a bill to provide tax breaks to property and vehicle owners who suffered losses from the storm. Fallin indicated she would sign the measure.

An army of insurance adjusters from across the country started to descend on Moore less 24 hours after Monday’s storm, and by Wednesday morning, a long line of them had formed outside the First Baptist Church.

Many were already in the area because of hail and tornados from earlier storms, and now they’re in destroyed neighborhoods assessing damage house by house.

This week, 15-year-old Darius Joseph found himself displaced again - the Dick family home was destroyed in the tornado on Monday.

Under cloudy skies and through intermittent showers, 4-year-old Kamrin Ramirez holds in her little hands two cards, one addressed to Ms. Patterson, the other for Ms. Johnson, her two preschool teachers at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla.

"I write thank you so much," she says.

The tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., Monday destroyed some 12,000 homes, according to Oklahoma City Police. And for one family, it was the second house they've lost to a tornado in the past 14 years. Rena and Paul Phillips say that the recent loss won't make them move.

The Phillipses told their story to Rachel Hubbard of Oklahoma member station KOSU, who reports on how they're coping with the loss — and the search for belongings in the rubble of their home — for Thursday's All Things Considered.

There's no room at the inn for the Degmans. Not the Days Inn, anyway.

Jim and Marilyn Degman didn't suffer significant damage to their home in Monday's storm, but they lost power and decided to seek shelter elsewhere. They tried two other places before they found a La Quinta Inn & Suites that would admit Angel Baby, their toy poodle.

"I think she's a little more traumatized than we are, because of her routine," Jim says. "She can't go to her home."

Explore The Oklahoma Tornado Damage

May 23, 2013

Use this map of before-and-after aerial imagery to explore damage from the recent Oklahoma tornado — one of the most destructive storms ever recorded.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Storms, Flooding Slowing Tornado Recovery

May 23, 2013
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

A band of thunderstorms is battering the Oklahoma City area and slowing cleanup operations in the southern suburb where a tornado killed 24 people and destroyed thousands of homes earlier this week.

The National Weather Service said Thursday that the storms are producing hail, heavy rain and high winds. A flash flood warning is also in effect for some areas.

The Weather Service says more severe storms are forecast for late afternoon and at night. It says tornados are a possibility.

Below are the locations where Red Cross food, supplies and assistance are available. In these locations, people can find a safe refuge, food and snacks, emotional support, health care services and information about what other help is available.

When Randy Keller moved from Texas to the Oklahoma City area seven years ago, he couldn't find the house he was looking for.

"I was moving from Texas, where there are also a lot of tornadoes," says the professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Oklahoma who experienced the 1970 tornado in Lubbock, Texas. "But I just couldn't find one."

(Most recent update: 8:30 p.m. ET.)

The news Wednesday from Moore, Okla., much of which was destroyed by a massive tornado Monday, begins with word that officials doubt they will find any more survivors or bodies under the hundreds of homes, businesses and other buildings that were leveled.

Jamin Yeager / Aerial Oklahoma

Stunning visual images have emerged that show a side-by-side comparison of the areas of Moore hardest hit by Monday’s tornado. Follow this link to see an interactive spatial scrawl.

“I've flown over that corridor dozens of times and shoot Southeast 19th Street and Interstate 35 regularly as it's a prime development location,” says photographer Jamin Yeager with Aerial Oklahoma. On Tuesday, he says “we waited for the weather to clear and got airborne by 3:45.”

The pictures show the hardest hit areas between SW 4th and 19th Streets just west of I-35. The entire neighborhood behind the Warren Theatre was flattened, and there’s a noticeable brown tint caused by mud and debris along the tornado’s path.

"Albert Ashwood, director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, said Tuesday there were no safe rooms in the two schools leveled by the tornado. Speaking at a public news briefing, Ashwood said hundreds of schools across the state have installed reinforced tornado shelters, but Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary were not among them."

Aftermath of a Storm

May 21, 2013

"Jessica’s father was at home when the tornado hit and hid in the bathroom. It was the only room in the house where the roof wasn't entirely ripped off, and her father survived. “It makes you feel blessed,” Ellerd said. She gestured toward the house. “This is just stuff.”

WATCH: Moore Tornado As Seen From Space

May 21, 2013

When it became clear that the conditions over Moore, Okla. were ripe for a huge tornado, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put its GOES-13 satellite into high gear.

Instead of imaging the earth every 30 minutes, it was doing it every 5 minutes. The images it beamed back are stunning. Here's a time-lapse video that NOAA put together and released today:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An Oklahoma City energy giant, a veterans group, and a superstar athlete have each announced three separate $1 million gifts to aid storm relief efforts following Monday's tornado that killed dozens in Moore.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. announced this morning it will donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to help in the rescue and recovery efforts in Moore.

The oil and gas company says it's also organizing hundreds of employee volunteers to help in the relief effort.

Oklahoma City Residents Asked To Conserve Water

May 21, 2013
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma City residents are being asked to help conserve water while power remains out at one of the city's main water treatment facilities.

City officials say rain and lightning during Monday night's storm delayed progress to restore power at the Draper Water Treatment Plant.

City spokeswoman Debbie Ragan says low water pressure is being reported in downtown Oklahoma City, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the state Capitol complex.

Ragan says city officials hope to have power restored by Tuesday afternoon.

Coburn: Any Tornado Aid Must Be Paid For

May 21, 2013
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) greeting President Barack Obama.
Tom Coburn / Facebook

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says that any additional federal aid to help tornado victims and to rebuild devastated areas of his state should be financed with cuts to other programs in the government's $3.6 trillion budget.

Spokesman John Hart says it's a position Coburn has consistently held regarding federal spending on disasters dating to the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

Google

This interactive map from Google highlights the storm track, as well as locations for American Red Cross shelters throughout Central Oklahoma.

Relief organization Save the Children says it's sending help to families affected by Monday's deadly tornado in Moore.

Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles says experience shows that children are most vulnerable during emergencies. The organization plans to send kits for shelters to create safe play spaces for children displaced by Monday's deadly tornado.

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