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May 2013 Tornado Coverage

GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Governor Mary Fallin joined Newcastle lawmakers and officials Friday to view storm damage and recovery efforts in the community following last month's storms.

Fallin took a driving tour of the community Friday afternoon. After viewing the area, the governor met with responders and local officials at the City Command Center.

FALLSROAD / Flickr Creative Commons

In the 1960s, survey teams of architects and engineers started hunting across Oklahoma for places to hunker down.

They found basements and tunnels, underground parking garages and well-built structures in municipal and private buildings.

At the time, Oklahoma’s big worry was an attack from Soviet Russia. That threat never materialized, but the state is targeted by tornadoes every year. And public shelter spaces are disappearing from the map.

boy walking through rubble
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Seven children were killed at an elementary school in Moore when a massive tornado tore through the area last month.

And the disaster has led to questions about why Oklahoma used previous federal disaster money to build more than 10,000 storm shelters in homes, but only 85 in public schools.

Getting the answer means going back to another major storm, on May 3rd, 1999, and another state.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

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.

It's A Sham: Shingle Recycling

Jun 16, 2013
samuel_belknap / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality is warning residents about people who claim to be shingle recyclers.

The Oklahoma City area has recently experienced three killer tornadoes that left people dead in Shawnee, Moore, El Reno and damaged thousands of homes and businesses in the metro area.

The department says people are claiming to be shingle recyclers — but that there are no permitted shingle recycling facilities in Oklahoma. The agency says shingles must be disposed of in a DEQ permitted landfill.

Visualizing The Moore Tornado Debris Cloud

Jun 15, 2013

National Climactic Data Center scientists use radar data from the May 20 Moore tornado to present different images of its debris field. They also present comparative images for the May 3, 1999 tornado that hit in the same area.

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Two Deaths Reported:

The El Paso County Sheriff says that two bodies were recovered Thursday in the burn area of the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs. A "coroner investigation is ongoing," the department says.

Reunited: 90 Tornado Displaced Pets

Jun 9, 2013
Animal Resource Center

The Animal Resource Center has reunited at least 90 lost pets with their owners since a May 20 tornado hit Moore.

The center says it received its first lost dog about an hour after the storm and has processed more than 150 animals in the past three weeks. In addition to reuniting pets with their owners, the center is also offering to board pets if their owners are now living in places that don't allow animals.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Following a major disaster like the Moore tornado on May 20th, news reporters want answers, and they don’t want to wait.

How many people were killed? How many injured? How much damage did the storm cause, and how much will it cost? Answers to the first three questions may not come immediately, but within a few days, they usually can be addressed fairly accurately.

El Reno Tornado, Now EF5, Sets Record

Jun 4, 2013
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Meteorologists have upgraded the tornado that hit Canadian County, west of Oklahoma City, as an EF5, the top of the ratings. The width of the tornado, 2.6 miles, is being called the widest ever recorded.

The upgrade came after researchers from the University of Oklahoma and meteorologists with the National Weather Service evaluated the tornado using information from a mobile research radar.

University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Howard Bluestein reflects on his friend Tim Samaras, who died Friday in El Reno.

This weekend brought the sad news that Tim Samaras, a high-profile storm chaser, was killed with his son in Friday's twister in El Reno, Oklahoma.

Friday's tornadoes came less than two weeks after an F-5 tornado destroyed a large section of Moore, just south of Oklahoma City. Both episodes raise two sides of one question: When caught in a tornado's path, should you run or hide?

For Morning Edition the day after the powerful tornado on May 20, NPR's Wade Goodwyn spoke with Molly Edwards, who was covered in pink insulation and standing on the rubble of her home with her family.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

Coming up, the strange history of tornado preparedness. Why exactly did they tell us to hide in the southwest corner of the basement? This is NPR News.

Flooding Forces Mobile Home Park Evacuation

Jun 1, 2013
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Authorities are using a boat, raft and Humvee to evacuate residents of a mobile home park in Crutcho.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff's offices says they are also searching for missing man from the area whose vehicle was found washed off the road near E. Hefner Rd. and N. Dobbs.

The man left for work at 6:30 a.m. Friday and has not been heard from since, according the sheriff's office.

Images from the mobile home park near NE 23rd and Air Depot show flood waters halfway up the doors of parked cars.

Tornado researcher Harold Brooks with the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman says the message that people in the path of a powerful tornado have to be underground to stay safe is wrong. Brooks says that messaging may even be irresponsible and dangerous.

Survey: No Cuts Needed To Offset Disaster Spending

May 30, 2013

While Oklahomans continue to recover from last week's tornadoes, a new study shows a majority of people support spending on natural disasters without compensating for the cash by cutting other areas.

John D. Sutter, a CNN Opinion columnist and a former staff writer for The Oklahoman newspaper, walked the full 17-mile damage path from the May 20th tornado, and live-tweeted what he encountered.

One of the first reporters on the scene May 20 after a massive tornado struck the town of Moore, Okla., didn’t mean to be there. Joe Wertz, digital reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma, was trying to get home.

After last week's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla,, hundreds of homes were damaged. Maurice Smith is optimistic about the future in Moore. So much so, he is planning to build a new home and sell the old one without an agent. And he expects it will be snapped up quickly. The reason? Displaced residents are looking for homes, and his has a storm shelter.

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