Updated at 10:58 a.m. with the name of the victim, and declaration of a state of emergency
Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for Ottawa County following a tornado that struck Quapaw that destroyed the fire station and at least five businesses and other structures. Damage assessments continue Monday.
Under the executive order, state agencies can make emergency purchases and acquisitions to deliver materials and supplies to needed jurisdictions. The declaration also marks a first step toward seeking federal assistance.
As the state prepares for another round of severe weather Saturday, city officials in Moore are worried about residents taking shelter in a local movie theater that held up well during the May 20, 2013 tornado.
“People think that the Warren Theatre is magic,” said National Severe Storms Laboratory senior scientist Harold Brooks. “The Warren Theatre was basically not hit by the tornado. It survived [as well as] it did because it didn't get hit by the tornado.”
Scattered severe storms could develop along a dry line developing over the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle Wednesday, but National Weather Service meteorologists are starting to predict the possibility of a more significant severe weather threat this weekend.
Forecaster Marc Austin says the main hazards Wednesday consist of baseball-sized hail, and damaging 70-80 mile-per-hour wind gusts.
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:
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?