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
7:01 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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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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Severe Storms
1:21 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

12 Things You May Not Know About The 2013 Moore Tornado

Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the May 20, 2013 tornado that killed 24 residents in Moore, injured hundreds, and caused an estimated $2 billion in damage.

To mark the occasion, the Norman Forecast Office of the National Weather Service put together a presentation highlighting a dozen observations from the 2013 storms in the community also hard-hit by strong, violent tornadoes in May 1999 and May 2013.

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Oklahoma News
12:26 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

SLIDESHOW: Hundreds Gather For Tornado Anniversary, Hospital Groundbreaking

The Moore Fire Department Honor Guard rings a bell to honor each of the 25 victims of the May 20, 2013 tornado.
Kate Carlton The Oklahoma Tornado Project

Local and state officials gathered Tuesday morning in Moore to honor the 24 people killed and hundreds injured May 20, 2013 when a tornado struck the city.

Gov. Mary Fallin said thousands of Oklahomans went above and beyond the call of duty last year, but singled out educators from Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools.

"Our teachers who used their own bodies as a shield, to help save children, to help protect children,” Fallin said. “Our teachers are our heroes."

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