May 2013 Tornado Coverage

Moore Tornado
12:40 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Moore Schools To Reopen After Devastating Tornado

Gov. Mary Fallin leads Gen. Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau through the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., where seven students were killed during the May 20th, 2013 tornado.
Credit The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials at Moore Public Schools welcomed teachers to a new school year following a devastating tornado that destroyed two schools and damaged many others.

Superintendent Robert Romines spoke to more than 1,400 Moore Public School teachers Monday morning – 84 days after a massive tornado struck the community. He says about 750 new students enrolled in Moore Public Schools during the 2013-2014 school year.

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Moore Tornado
10:02 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Moore Receives First FEMA Debris Payment

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

The Moore City Council has approved more than $32 million to pay for cleanup costs related to the deadly May tornado. 

Moore Finance Director Jim Corbett says the city foots the bill for the cleanup costs, then is reimbursed by the state and federal government. Corbett says the city received its first payment last week from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

Twenty-five people died after the EF5 tornado tore through Moore, including a 90-year-old woman who died last week after suffering a fractured skull in the twister. 

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:11 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Twister Truths: Does The Tornado Risk Peak After The School Day Ends?

Wooden crosses at the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore stand in memory of the seven students killed during the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Credit SFC Kendall James / U.S. Department of Defense

Editor's Note: This is part one in StateImpact Oklahoma's "Twister Truths" series where we use data to kick the tires on the conventional wisdom underlying severe weather policy in Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, state and local emergency authorities emphasize individual shelters in peoples’ homes over communal shelters in schools or other civic buildings. As we reported here, almost all the federal disaster funding the state receives has been directed to rebates for the construction of residential shelters and safe rooms.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:48 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Is Oklahoma’s Severe Weather Policy Grounded In Fact Or Folklore?

Gavin Hawkins walks through the rubble after the May 20, 2013 tornado in Moore.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Since the deadly tornadoes that struck the state this spring, StateImpact has been taking a look at Oklahoma’s severe weather policy, and asking questions like: Why aren’t there more safe rooms in schools?

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:55 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Government Help Hard To Come By For Those Wanting Tornado Shelters

Wiley Robison shows off the new tornado shelter outside his home near Jay, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 10,000 individual tornado shelters have been built in Oklahoma since 1999 with the help of a state rebate program that provides up to $2,000 toward the cost of installing safe rooms in homes or underground.

So it seems the state is doing a lot to make taking shelter simpler and more affordable.

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May 2013 Tornadoes
12:56 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Oklahoma City Adds Debris Cleanup Crews

Debris still litters parts of Oklahoma, almost two months after tornadoes hit the state.
Credit Defense Imagery / Wikimedia Creative Commons

The City of Oklahoma City is releasing more contracted crews to help clean up debris left behind from the tornadoes that tore through the state in May. 

Residents are asked to divide debris into three piles, all of which will be collected by separate crews. Those piles include storm debris, normal bulky waste, and hazardous materials. Collection begins July 22.  

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:04 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Some Shelterless Oklahoma Schools To Cancel Class When Tornados Threaten

Mara Crew's father, Jesse, says he'd prefer Tulsa-area schools install storm shelters instead of closing doors for "tornado days" during severe weather.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Of the many ideas for changes to state policy following May’s deadly tornado outbreak —changing building codes to make public structures safer, requiring shelters in new school buildings, providing money to upgrade schools without shelters — the one that has the best chance of actually happening is ‘tornado days.’

Local superintendents don’t need any approval to cancel school in the winter— or spring, when sunny weather can quickly turn violent.

Listen to the Radio Story

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:33 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Moore Officials Delay Vote on Upgrading Building Codes for Tornadoes

Civil engineer Tim Marshall says many of the homes destroyed by the May 20 Moore tornado were nailed to foundation slabs and weren't bolted down.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Moore City Council on Tuesday delayed a vote on an ordinance that would strengthen construction standards to help reduce damage from tornadoes.

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May 2013 Tornadoes
9:43 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Moore Council Tables Proposal On Storm Shelters

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Moore City Council has tabled a proposal that would have required storm shelters for houses, apartments, mobile homes and group residential housing.

Also Monday, the council delayed voting on a measure that would have required bolting and fastening to strengthen homes against tornadoes. The Norman Transcript reports Mayor Glenn Lewis says the city will meet with local builders before moving forward with the ordinances.

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May 2013 Tornadoes
7:14 am
Mon July 1, 2013

FEMA Approves More Aid, Already Tops $25 Million

Gov. Mary Fallin meets with members of the Newcastle Fire Department on Friday June 28, 2013
Credit GovMaryFallin / Twitter

Gov. Mary Fallin says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for 16 counties hit by May storms that brought tornadoes and flooding to Oklahoma.

Fallin said FEMA approved the request on Friday that she submitted Wednesday.

The storms caused an estimated $40 million in uninsured infrastructure losses, and debris removal and response costs.

FEMA says disaster assistance for the state now tops $25 million dollars.

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