tornado

All Tech Considered
6:34 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Tornado Tech: How Drones Can Help With Twister Science

Drones can provide information about temperature, humidity and pressure that current radar systems can't provide. Above, the Talos drone, which has a 15.5-foot wingspan.
Jamey Jacob Oklahoma State University

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:15 am

Oklahoma was hit particularly hard by two massive outbreaks this year in what's been another deadly season of tornadoes in the U.S. Despite technology and forecasting improvements, scientists still have plenty to learn about how and why tornadoes form.

Currently, one of the best ways for researchers to understand how tornadoes form is to chase them. So off they go with mobile science laboratories, rushing toward storms armed with research equipment and weather-sensing probes.

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Weather and Climate
6:00 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

May Tornado Death Toll Rises

May 20-21 2013 Storm Clouds Over Moore, Oklahoma
Credit Dawn Musick / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Medical Examiner has increased the toll from the May 20 tornado at Moore after the death of a 90-year-old woman critically  injured in the storm.  Spokeswoman Amy Elliott said today that the death of Kathryn Begay pushed the  death toll to 25.  Begay's home in the town of Moore was destroyed and she suffered a fractured  skull. Officials say she suffered a pair of strokes after the storm and died  last Thursday.   A tornado that struck El Reno on May 31 killed 22 people, including 14 adults  and eight children. Many victims drowned due to heavy rain from that storm.   

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:03 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Republicans and Democrats Agree: Tornado Shelters Are Worth Subsidizing

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole
Credit Republicanconference / Flickr

A bit of rare bipartisanship in Washington could make individuals safer when tornadoes threaten.

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, both introduced versions of the Tornado Family Safety Act on Aug. 2.

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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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Severe Storms
12:43 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Shelter Permits Sought In Norman After Tornadoes

Credit benchilada / Flickr Creative Commons

Norman residents are applying to build storm shelters in the wake of deadly tornadoes that struck in Moore and other nearby areas.  

The May 19 and 20 tornadoes killed dozens in Moore and other Oklahoma City metro areas just north of Norman.

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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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