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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Tornado
8:31 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Moore Approves Tornado Resistant Building Codes

New homes in Moore, Okla. should be able to withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour if built to new building codes passed Monday.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The City of Moore is adopting stricter building codes intended to reduce the damage from high winds. The new regulations should strengthen homes against tornado damage.

The codes approved by the Moore City Council Monday would require hurricane straps that connect the roof of a home to the wall studs. The rules also add anchors that tie the frame to the foundation, continuous plywood bracing and garage doors built to withstand high winds.

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May 2013 Tornados
5:12 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Feds Give Additional $109 Million In Aid To Oklahoma

The aftermath of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced an additional $109 million in disaster aid for Moore and the state of Oklahoma for recovery efforts from last year's tornadoes and other disasters.

Moore will receive nearly $26 million and the state will receive $83 million from the federal agency's community development block grant program.

Monday's announcement is in addition to nearly $28 million in HUD funds announced last August.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon March 17, 2014

Sounding The Social Media Alarm During Severe Weather

Harold Brooks, Rick Smith and Michelann Ooten speak about storm safety at The Oklahoma Tornado Project's March 12, 2014 forum.
Credit Kate Carlton / Oklahoma Tornado Project

With tornado season approaching, many Oklahomans will turn to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to stay informed of the latest hazards. 

Use of these outlets explodes during severe weather outbreaks, as people try to disseminate information, share pictures and update each other on the course of the storm. But despite their ability to quickly deliver breaking news, social media can often contribute to spreading outdated information. 

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State Capitol
9:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Looting Could Become Felony In Oklahoma

The aftermath of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation that makes looting a felony in Oklahoma.

The Senate passed the measure 36-1 Tuesday evening and sent it to the House for consideration.

The measure by Republican Sen. Anthony Sykes of Moore elevates the crime of looting from a misdemeanor offense to a felony, with a penalty for violations ranging from two to seven years in prison.

Sykes says the measure is a response to incidents of looting after a massive tornado destroyed homes and business in Moore last May.

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Tornado
9:57 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Judge Orders $15 Million Judgment In Woodward Tornado Case

The path of the April 2012 tornado that hit Woodward.
Credit Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

An Oklahoma judge says Farmers Insurance and a subsidiary must pay a total of $15 million to three plaintiffs whose homes were damaged in the 2012 Woodward tornado.

District Judge Ray Dean Linder ruled in favor of three plaintiffs who filed breach of contract lawsuits against Farmers Insurance and Foremost Insurance Group. The lawsuit alleged that the insurance companies underpaid claims and used adjusters that they knew would offer low estimates.

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May 2013 Tornado Outbreak
9:54 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Reporter's Notebook: Poor Construction Techniques Doomed Moore Elementary Schools

Gov. Mary Fallin at Plaza Towers elementary school following the May 20, 2013 Moore, Okla. tornado.
Credit The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

Listen to M. Scott Carter talk about how he first became interested in construction standards at two Oklahoma elementary schools destroyed by the May 20, 2013 Moore, Okla. tornado.

Friday’s edition of The Journal Record reveals improper construction and violation of building codes led to the destruction of two Moore, Okla. elementary schools when a tornado hit May 20, 2013.

KGOU’s Kurt Gwartney talked with the reporter, M. Scott Carter, who obtained a soon-to-be released report showing a shocking lack of standard building practices in both Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools.

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6:11 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Deathtrap: Moore Tornado Debris Reveals Construction Flaws, Code Violations

Lead in text: 
Detailed in a soon-to-be-released report for the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute, an analysis of the debris of the Briarwood Elementary School showed that several of the building’s steel roof beams were not attached to the walls, many of Briarwood’s cinder-block walls were not properly reinforced with steel rebar and large portions of the walls were not backfilled with concrete.
When the storm came, seven students in the Plaza Towers third-grade center sheltered in the hall. At Briarwood, the students and teachers thought the school building would protect them. Then the tornado hit, and the schools fell. Instead of offering protection on May 20, 2013, Plaza Towers became a deathtrap, Briarwood a pile of rubble.
May 2013 Tornado Outbreak
12:31 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

VIDEO: Lessons From El Reno As NWS Trains New Spotters

The National Weather Service unveiled a new training video Wednesday for storm spotters and chasers with the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the tragedy that followed the May 31, 2013 tornado near El Reno.

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Tornado
9:44 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Texas, Oklahoma Top Nation's Tornado Numbers

The May 19, 2013 tornado that hit parts of Edmond, Okla.
Credit Mike Prendergast / SkyWatcherMedia.com

Texas and Oklahoma led the nation in the number of tornadoes last year. Oklahoma's 79 was well above the state's average of 57.

Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, told the Tulsa World newspaper the national total of 898 tornadoes was well below normal, which is about 1,000.

Florida, Kansas and Texas typically each have more tornadoes per year than Oklahoma. Texas had 81 last year.

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6:55 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

2013 Warmer, Wetter Than Average For The Contiguous US

Lead in text: 
Tornadoes killed 54 people in 2013, even though the number of twisters was below average. The National Climatic Data Center has its year-end report on weather across the nation and the globe.
The State of the Climate is a collection of monthly summaries recapping climate-related occurrences on both a global and national scale.

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