One year ago this week, a deadly EF-5 tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, taking the lives of 24 people and destroying over 11-hundred homes. For many people, this week marks a painful reminder of the damage. For others, the year anniversary is an opportunity to put the devastation behind them with the support of their peers. Kate Carlton reports.
It’s been nearly a year since a series of tornadoes devastated central Oklahoma, destroying homes, parks and commercial buildings. During the recovery process, construction crews gathered over 300,000 tons of debris between just Oklahoma City and Moore.
Jeff Bedick is the District Manager for Waste Connections, which operates a landfill in west Oklahoma City. The facility sits on 200 acres, which mostly just looks like a giant, grass-covered hill on the side of the highway.
For students in Moore, Oklahoma it's not just new backpacks and pencils this year. For many, it's entirely new schools and homes. A tornado ripped through the community nearly three months ago. It destroyed two schools, killed seven students and 18 other people in the city. And tomorrow, students return to class.
Rachel Hubbard, of member station KOSU, checks in with Moore to see how the community is doing.
In Moore, Oklahoma, residents and volunteers are deep into cleanup and not for the first time. Moore has been hit by several powerful tornadoes in the past 15 years. Many residents insist they're staying in Moore despite the danger of tornadoes.
In fact, as we hear from Rachel Hubbard of member station KOSU, it's hard to find someone who wants to leave. But she did find two friends who say they've had enough.
Brian Hock was standing Wednesday evening in what used to be his home but is now 2,000 square feet of nothing. Still resting in a bag of dog food was the cup he uses to scoop kibble, emblazoned with the slogan "Fear not: God's love shines bright."
Hock was at work Monday when the tornado smashed his house in the Heatherwood subdivision of Moore, Okla. He says his daughters survived only because neighbors invited them to share a custom shelter.
Authorities in Moore, Oklahoma say that 12,000 homes were damaged in Monday's tornado. In this next story, we're going to meet one family that was affected, and not for the first time. The Phillips lost their home in a tornado that hit Moore on May 3rd, 1999. They loved the community and bought another house two miles away, a house flattened by Monday's tornado.
Rachel Hubbard, of member station KOSU, toured what's left of their home to try to understand how a family can cope with such a loss twice.
All that's left standing at Kiaya Roper's house in Moore, Okla., is the bathroom. When a tornado struck the town on Monday, Roper was at work at Central Elementary School, her children were at school and her husband managed to ride out the storm by hunkering down in that bathroom.
"God put his hand down on his head for me," Roper says.