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.
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.
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.
For years, Samaras has driven into the heart of tornadoes, equipment in hand, to learn more about them. Late last month, as tornado season was opening in Oklahoma, Samaras talked to National Geographic about what motivated him to engage in such dangerous work--starting with a boyhood viewing of "The Wizard of Oz." It was our last interview with him, and one of his final interviews before his untimely death.
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.
I downloaded a map from the National Weather Service and drove on Thursday afternoon to Newcastle. I found the quaint cul de sac where the tornado was born. No one expects an infant to grow into a terrorist. Likewise, looking at the humble beginnings of this tornado, I'd never have dreamed it would stomp across the metro area, smashing neighborhoods, killing 24 people, including seven children in one elementary school, and causing an estimated $2 billion in damages.