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 Tornado Project
7:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Why Moore Missed Out On Mitigation Funds

Stillwater resident Hollie Schreiber received a $2,000 storm shelter rebate through the city's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that FEMA funded following the 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

When federal aid started pouring into the state after last years’ storms, FEMA designated $4 million for hazard mitigation – a tool used to protect communities from future severe weather through things like storm shelters. But the communities you’d think might receive this kind of money sometimes don’t. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Auditing The Storm: Assistance Is Hit And Miss For Individuals After 2013 Tornadoes

Victims embrace amid the devastation in Moore after the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

After last year’s deadly tornadoes, private insurers paid out over $1 billion in claims. FEMA also chipped in $15 million as part of its individual and household assistance program. But nearly three-quarters of that program’s applicants were denied.

As part of our series tracking the federal aid money, we look at the decision-making process that left much of Central Oklahoma out of luck. 

On the evening of May 20th, 2013, James and Sheryl Pennington stepped outside their home in Moore to find debris everywhere. The tornado had left a devastating trail, and they weren’t exempt from its destruction. 

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The Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:45 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Auditing the Storm: Disaster 4117 - The Long Road

The Moore Medical Center immediately after the May 2013 tornados.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mark Hybers

In 2007, Oklahoma was blitzed by a series of deadly storms, including an ice storm in January that engulfed most of central and eastern Oklahoma and killed 32 people.

Nearly seven years later, three of those federally declared disasters remain on active status. A handful of projects and audits have yet to be completed.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:01 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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Business Intelligence Report
5:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Top Business Stories: Increased Tax Revenues, HP 'Lands' In Tulsa, And OKC Okays Cabela Incentives

Moore Sales Tax Growth chart
Credit Bryan Richter, Journal Record

Despite Last Year’s Devastating Tornado, Business Is Booming In Moore.

Sales tax revenues for the first part of the year are 8.7 percent higher than in 2013. In fact, collections grew more than in other metro cities. Norman grew 5.7 percent, and Edmond and Oklahoma City each posted 2.7 percent gains.

Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said the surge comes from more than just reconstruction.

He said growing retail activity made up 6 percent of the growth. Sales tax collections in June were
12.3 percent higher than a year ago.

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The Two-Way
8:11 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Twin Tornadoes In Nebraska Leave 2 Dead, Others In Hospital

A still image from a video shows two tornadoes approaching Pilger, Neb., Monday. The National Weather Service said at least two people died in the large storm that hit northeast Nebraska.
StormChasingVideo.com AP

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 10:11 am

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
6:30 am
Mon June 2, 2014

2011 Joplin Tornado Served As Wake Up Call For School Officials

Irving Elementary School in Joplin, Mo. is one of several public school buildings damaged or destroyed by a 2011 tornado. Since the storm hit on Sunday, no one was inside the buildings.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis

Two years ago, a violent tornado hit Joplin, Mo. at a time when children were not in their classrooms. If the day and time had been different, that community could have become known for students killed by a storm, instead of Moore, Okla.

That near miss caused officials with the Joplin schools to look at storm shelters in a new light.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Red Cross Program Teaches Emergency Preparedness To Kids Affected By 2013 Tornadoes

Red Cross worker Shannon Reed leads a class of Soldier Creek Elementary fifth graders in practicing a tornado drill. The Red Cross is visiting schools throughout the region, including this one in Midwest City, to teach
Jason Colston/American Red Cross

During tornado season, preparedness is key. Phrases like “Don’t be scared, be prepared” populate Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites when there’s a severe weather threat. One organization is now taking steps to ensure kids also know what to do when weather rolls in.

Shannon Reed is a Community Resiliency Specialist with the Red Cross. Last month, she spent a day in a gymnasium at Carney Elementary School, teaching kids about severe weather.

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State Capitol
9:07 am
Fri May 23, 2014

House Walks Back Storm Shelter Vote, Plaza Towers Parents Take Legal Action

Wooden crosses at the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., May 28, 2013, stand in memory of the seven students were killed during a tornado May 20, 2013.
SFC Kendall James defenseimagery.mil

The Oklahoma House reversed course Thursday night and narrowly passed a plan it had earlier defeated to help school districts pay for safety upgrades such as storm shelters and safe rooms.

House members voted 51-39 last night for the plan supported by Gov. Mary Fallin. It takes a minimum of 51 votes to pass a bill in the 101-member House.

The chamber had defeated the proposal hours earlier by a bipartisan vote of 61-34. House members said that Fallin's office had urged members of the majority GOP caucus to change their no votes.

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