This week marks 15 months since a deadly tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, leveling two schools and taking the lives of seven children inside Plaza Towers Elementary. It’s been a long journey, but the schools finally reopen tomorrow, and the kids are excited to be back.
The University of Oklahoma’s Writing Center was one of many groups that stepped up after last year’s devastating storms to distribute water, clothing and other necessities to those who had lost everything. Now, more than a year later, the group has launched a new program to help survivors recover.
After a federally-declared disaster, the U.S. Small Business Administration issues low-interest loans to help homeowners and businesses recover. The agency disbursed over 20-million dollars to Oklahomans following last year’s severe weather outbreak in the central part of the state.
As part of the series between The Oklahoma Tornado Project and Oklahoma Watch tracking federal aid, Kate Carlton Greer looks into exactly what it takes to get one of those loans.
After a presidentially declared disaster like last year’s tornadoes in Central Oklahoma, the U.S. Small Business Administration often steps in, offering low-interest loans to help homeowners and businesses recover.
But the SBA has been criticized in the past for being slow to respond.
As part of our project with Oklahoma Watch tracking federal aid from the 2013 storms, the Oklahoma Tornado Project’s Kate Carlton Greer reports many people still have complaints about the process.
When federal aid started pouring into the state after last years’ storms, FEMA designated 4 million dollars for hazard mitigation – a tool used to protect communities from future severe weather through things like storm shelters.
As part of our series with Oklahoma Watch tracking the disaster relief funds, Kate Carlton Greer with the Oklahoma Tornado Project reports the communities you’d think might receive this kind of money sometimes don’t.
When a tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma in May of last year, residential neighborhoods bore the brunt of the damage. But it was a different story in Joplin, Missouri, after an EF-5 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses back in 2011.
Three years later, more than 90% of those businesses have returned to write a new chapter in Joplin’s story. Gail Banzet-Ellis with the Oklahoma Tornado Project reports.
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, Oklahoma.
That near miss caused officials with the Joplin schools to look at storm shelters in a new light.
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.
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 severe 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.
After a devastating tornado rolled through Moore, Okla., last May, firefighters were scrambling to pull people out of storm shelters. Actually finding those shelters, though, was difficult. Landmarks had been swept away, and the town's emergency dispatcher was overwhelmed with calls.
"Yes, we're at 604 South Classen. There's people down," one caller said. "We're stuck under rubble. ... Please hurry."
Shonn Neidel was one of the firefighters rushing to rescue people that day, and he quickly saw a problem.