I downloaded a map from the National Weather Service and drove on Thursday afternoon to Newcastle. I found the quaint cul de sac where the tornado was born. No one expects an infant to grow into a terrorist. Likewise, looking at the humble beginnings of this tornado, I'd never have dreamed it would stomp across the metro area, smashing neighborhoods, killing 24 people, including seven children in one elementary school, and causing an estimated $2 billion in damages.
One of the first reporters on the scene May 20 after a massive tornado struck the town of Moore, Okla., didn’t mean to be there. Joe Wertz, digital reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma, was trying to get home.
Wertz, working out of KGOU-FM on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and other station employees heeded storm warnings May 20 by leaving work early. Wertz lives in Oklahoma City about 20 miles north of Norman, and hoped to beat the storm home.
After last week's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla,, hundreds of homes were damaged. Maurice Smith is optimistic about the future in Moore. So much so, he is planning to build a new home and sell the old one without an agent. And he expects it will be snapped up quickly. The reason? Displaced residents are looking for homes, and his has a storm shelter.
Mynor Sanchez, a resident of Moore, Okla., lives a few blocks away and three houses down from major destruction. He is volunteering Friday in the neighborhood with his church, Templo El Alabanza, trying to do any tasks with which residents need help.
Credit Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
Eli and Maria Sanchez with their daughter, Kaylee, 6 at their home in Moore, Okla., on Friday.
Pastor Chano Najera calls out T-shirt sizes in Spanglish to volunteers waiting for their uniforms.
It's easy to spot Najera in this crowd — just look for the cowboy hat. He preaches in Spanish at Templo De Alabanza in Oklahoma City. On this morning, though, he's wrangling a group of young Latino volunteers as they wheel cases of water bottles onto trucks headed for Moore, Okla., where an EF-5 tornado ripped through neighborhoods last week, but spared Najera's home.