May 2013 Tornado Coverage

The Moore Medical Center was destroyed in the May 20 tornado. The new facility is set to open in 2016.
Airman Magazine /

The Norman Regional Hospital Authority has approved plans for a new, 100,000-square-foot, $28.8 million facility for the town of Moore, which was hit by a devastating tornado in May.

The five-story medical center will offer emergency and outpatient services, as well as lab, imaging, ultrasound and X-rays.

The Norman Transcript reports the new facility is slated to open in 2016.

Oklahoma Educational Television Authority / YouTube

StateImpact reporter Joe Wertz was a guest on OETA’s Oklahoma News Report last week to discuss his report on how wind farms interfere with weather radar.

Motivated by adventure, science, and awe at the power of nature, stormchasers are risking it all to get closer to tornadoes than ever before. Last spring, during the deadly Oklahoma City outbreaks, they got more than they bargained for.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is now No. 6 in the nation in wind-generated electricity capacity, and last week the state helped set a wind power record for the entire region.

Wind farms are multiplying and expanding in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and throughout the Great Plains, where the nation’s wind energy potential is concentrated.

The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

Supporters of an initiative petition to fund tornado shelters in Oklahoma schools are gathering the thousands of signatures needed to send the proposal to a statewide vote, but Gov. Mary Fallin won’t be on the list.

The Tulsa World‘s Barbara Hoberock reports the plan, which would use revenue from the state franchise tax to pay the $500 million debt, does not have the governor’s support:

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Oklahoma House of Representatives

A proponent of a ballot measure to place storm shelters in Oklahoma schools says a survey of all public schools in the state shows more than 60 percent without a refuge or safe area.

Rush Springs Democratic state Representative Joe Dorman announced the results of the survey on Thursday of all 517 school districts in Oklahoma's 77 counties. The survey was paid for by Coreslab Structures, a company that manufactures precast concrete products with two plants in Oklahoma.

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

Officials in Moore say the city has issued a record number of building permits since the May 20 tornado that devastated the community.

City officials say Moore issued 78 building permits in the last month — compared to 24 permits issued at the same time last year. Of those, 54 permits are for rebuilding and 24 are new construction.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Two organizations in Central Oklahoma will receive more than half-a-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of its Economic Development Administration grant program.

The City of Moore will receive $300,000 to hire a disaster coordinator develop strategies during the rebuilding efforts after May’s devastating tornado. The job will also be responsible for managing disaster assistance at the federal, state and local level.

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Oklahoma House of Representatives

Organizers have launched a signature-gathering campaign for a $500 million bond issue to put storm shelters in public schools.

The group Take Shelter Oklahoma filed a petition on Wednesday with the Oklahoma Secretary of State's office to get the issue on a statewide ballot. Once the ballot language is given final approval by the attorney general, supporters have 90 days to gather about 155,000 signatures of registered voters.

The plan calls for the debt service on the bond issue to be paid by the annual franchise tax levied on businesses.

Kerry Rodtnick / University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture

Leaders in Moore say tornado recovery efforts have caused sales tax collections to skyrocket in the city.

The Norman Transcript reports that Moore received more than $2.6 million in total sales tax from the Oklahoma Tax Commission in September. That includes general fund receipts, which are up more than 12 percent from last year.

City Manager Stephen Eddy calls the numbers "amazing" and says rebuilding efforts from the May 20 tornado are likely responsible.