May 2013 Tornado Coverage

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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State Capitol
12:44 pm
Sat June 29, 2013

Lawmakers Seek To Increase Looting Penalties

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Several state lawmakers want to increase the penalty for looting after numerous reports of theft from victims whose homes were damaged or destroyed in last month's tornadoes.

Legislators representing several areas hit by tornadoes in May said Friday that they plan to introduce a bill next session to change looting from a misdemeanor to a felony.

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May 2013 Tornadoes
8:22 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Fallin Tours Oklahoma Community After May Storms

Governor Mary Fallin tours tornado-damaged areas in Newcastle - June 28, 2013
Credit 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.

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