May 2013 Tornado Coverage

Deadly tornados tore through several Oklahoma communities on May 19, 20 and 31, 2013. These are the stories of natural disaster and its aftermath, and of communities healing and recovering.

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Oklahoma News
11:57 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Small Tornado Touches Down In Arcadia During Sunday Storm

National Weather Center in Norman
Credit Paul L. McCord Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

A small tornado that touched ground briefly in Arcadia has been rated an EF0 by the National Weather Service in Norman.

Weather service meteorologist Marc Austin said Monday that the tornado caused no damage and appeared to have been on the ground for 30 seconds or less in the small town in the northeastern Oklahoma City metro.

The preliminary rating for the Sunday afternoon twister is the smallest given by the weather service and indicates wind speeds of 40-72 mph.

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Politics and Government
5:47 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Agriculture Department Requests Legislation To Better Respond For Animals In A Natural Disaster

Those impacted by the Moore tornadoes were reunited with their animals. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service within an Incident Command structure to triage animals and place them in shelters so that they could be reunited with their owners.
Credit The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Oklahoma’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has requested multiple pieces of legislation for the upcoming legislative session, said Legislative Liaison Blayne Arthur at a board meeting on Tuesday.

Arthur said General Counsel Teena Gunter has been working on putting together the correct language for these bills to submit them by the Jan 22 deadline, though they have already officially requested legislation.

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Oklahoma News
6:13 am
Sat November 29, 2014

One Month Left To Apply For SBA Disaster Loans

Scott Burkhart of Moore obtained an SBA disaster loan of more than $30,000 to pay for lost belongings and damage not covered by property insurance. The family just moved back into their house.
Credit Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

December 30, 2014 is the deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury to small, non-farm businesses in in 23 Oklahoma Counties.

These low-interest loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary Oklahoma counties that began April 22, 2014.

Tanya N. Garfield, Director of the U. S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Field Operations Center - West,  said the primary Oklahoma Counties include Canadian, Garfield, Grant, Kay, Kingfisher, Logan, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Pawnee and Payne. Neighboring Oklahoma counties include Alfalfa, Blaine, Caddo, Cleveland, Creek, Grady, Lincoln, Major, McClain, Pottawatomie, Tulsa and Washington.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:10 am
Mon September 29, 2014

School Shelter Advocacy Group Puts Forth "Last Ditch Effort" For Signatures

David Slane and Danni Legg (center) ask the public for petition signatures as a "last ditch effort" to get a school safe room issue on a future ballot.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

A group that wants storm shelters in every Oklahoma school has spent the last 90 days gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on the ballot. Take Shelter Oklahoma is still tens of thousands of signatures short of the required amount, but  proponents now have more time than they originally thought. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon September 22, 2014

United Way Tornado Donations Rebuild Homes And Promote Physical, Mental Health

Ben and Kristen Jones stand on their empty lot that Rebuilding Together OKC is building using United Way tornado donations.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

In the wake of last year’s devastating tornadoes, millions of dollars in donations went to The United Way of Central Oklahoma. The non-profit organization also agreed to administer Governor Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Strong tornado relief campaign. Together, the funds raised a total of $20 million. 

One week after the tornado hit the city of Moore in May of 2013, country singer Blake Shelton showed up to host a benefit concert called Healing in the Heartland.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
6:42 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Moore's Rush To Rebuild Left Hundreds Of Homes With A Lesser Building Code

The City of Moore's Shane Speegle inspects one home that is subject to the city's newer, more stringent building code.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

This March, Moore, Oklahoma became the first city in the nation to adopt a tornado-specific building code. City officials wanted homes to be able to withstand an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado.

But six months after the new regulations took effect, it turns out not all new homes built in the tornado’s path will have these upgrades.

Last week, on a block near Moore’s rebuilt Plaza Towers Elementary School, city official Shane Speegle walked through one house that had just been framed to check the progress.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
6:42 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Insurance Increase: Homeowners' Premiums Skyrocket After Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes

StateFarm Flickr Creative Commons

After a series of severe storms swept through the state in May of last year, insurance carriers paid out over $1 billion in claims, making it the nation’s most costly disaster of 2013.

Most insurance issues have now been settled, but many homeowners are looking at higher rates than they were paying before the storm.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:33 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Without FEMA Funds, Numerous Oklahoma Counties Sit On Expired Disaster Plans

Grady County's emergency manager Dale Thompson is in charge of updating a county-wide hazard mitigation plan, identifying each hazard the area faces.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

With threats ranging from ice storms to tornadoes, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in the number of presidentially declared disasters over the past 14 years.

That’s why the state says it's important for local officials to maintain hazard mitigation plans, explaining the steps they're taking to reduce or eliminate their risks. But keeping things up-to-date has proven tough. 

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