With threats ranging from ice storms to tornadoes, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in the number of presidentially declared disasters over the past 14 years.
That’s why the state says it's important for local officials to maintain hazard mitigation plans, explaining the steps they're taking to reduce or eliminate their risks. But keeping things up-to-date has proven tough.
The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.
To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.
The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.
The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.
A Mannford woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to committing fraud in order to receive more than $31,000 in federal disaster payments.
Federal prosecutors say 42-year-old Kerry Lynn Rowell pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa. Rowell admitted receiving about $31,400 from the Federal Emergency Disaster Agency in money that was available to victims of wildfires in the Mannford area in 2013.
It's no question the weather's been brutal for some communities, including Washington, Ill., a town of 15,000 in the central part of the state. When a tornado ripped through the area last November three people died and more than a thousand homes were damaged.
Moore City Manager Steve Eddy says more than 56,000 tons of debris have been removed from neighborhoods in Moore as the city reaches the one-month mark since a deadly tornado carved through the Oklahoma City suburb on May 20.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for 85 percent of the cost of debris removal through Wednesday, when the share was reduced to 80 percent. The 80-20 federal-local match will continue for another 30 days. After that, the federal share of the cleanup cost will drop to the traditional 75 percent.