severe weather

Oklahoma Tornado Project
11:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Six Ways To Prepare For Oklahoma’s Tornado Season

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s little doubt Oklahomans will be more sensitive and more concerned than usual as the spring storm season approaches after the devastating events of May 2013. Dozens of people died as three violent tornadoes tore across Pottawatomie, Canadian and Cleveland counties within a two-week span.

Since September, KGOU has been working to prepare for severe weather in 2014 with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. On March 12, we hosted a panel discussion about tornado preparedness and storm safety at the Moore Public Library, just a few hundred yards from where the May 20 twister crossed Interstate 35.

We learned six things you need to know to prepare for the 2014 tornado season:

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Severe Storms
8:08 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Flooding Takes Oklahoma City Man's Life

Rainfall amounts from Thursday night's severe storms.
Credit Oklahoma Mesonet

Severe thunderstorms moved through central Oklahoma Thursday night causing flooding and power outages across the area.

Oklahoma City police say a 60-year-old man drowned while trying to rescue a relative who was stranded by floodwaters.

Police say the man was swept into a drainage canal and drowned early Friday in northwest Oklahoma City. Police say the relative, who was stranded in a car, escaped without injury.

That incident happened near NW 122nd and Pennsylvania. Police reported water over the roadway there with three stalled cars in the intersection.

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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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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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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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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:02 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why Oklahoma’s Priority Is Storm Shelters For Individuals, Not Safe Rooms For Schools

Eleven-year-old Gavin Hawkins stands near the rubble of the Plaza Tower Elementary School. His dad, Joel, rushed to the school to pick up his son before the storm hit.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Listen to the story.

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.

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Tornado Recovery
10:48 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Moore Debris Removal: 56,550 Tons And Counting

A man stands on his house and surveys the damage after the May 20 tornado in Moore.
Credit 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.

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Severe Storms
9:30 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Oklahoma’s Building Codes Don’t Factor For Tornadoes

Tim Marshall, a meteorologist and civil engineer, stands near a water tank in a tornado-ravaged Moore neighborhood. The tank fell from the sky after being carried a half-mile, Marshall says.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The “Oklahoma Standard” is a phrase that describes how this state responds in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, like the tornado that ripped through Moore on May 20.

But that resiliency isn’t reflected in Oklahoma’s construction standards, which don’t factor for tornadoes.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

$500 Million to $5 Billion: What’s Behind The Wide Ranging Tornado Cost Estimates?

A man on top of a house surveying tornado damage in Moore, Okla..
Credit 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.

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1:14 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

OU Meteorology Professor On His Friend Tim Samaras

Lead in text: 
University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Howard Bluestein reflects on his friend Tim Samaras, who died Friday in El Reno.
Another round of tornadoes tore through Oklahoma on Friday night. While all of those storm videos popping up on YouTube and television are incredible to watch, they're also obviously very dangerous to film. Thirteen people died in Friday's tornadoes, including veteran storm chaser Tim Samaras, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young.

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