Oklahoma Tornado Project

Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:03 am
Mon September 29, 2014

School Shelter Advocacy Group Puts Forth "Last Ditch Effort" For Signatures

David Slane and Danni Legg (center) ask the public for petition signatures as a "last ditch effort" to get a school safe room issue on a future ballot.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

A group that wants storm shelters in every Oklahoma school has spent the last 90 days gathering signatures to get its initiative petition on the ballot. Take Shelter Oklahoma is still tens of thousands of signatures short of the required amount, but  proponents now have more time than they originally thought. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:04 am
Mon September 22, 2014

United Way Tornado Donations Rebuild Homes And Promote Physical, Mental Health

Ben and Kristen Jones stand on their empty lot that Rebuilding Together OKC is building using United Way tornado donations.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

In the wake of last year’s devastating tornadoes, millions of dollars in donations went to The United Way of Central Oklahoma. The non-profit organization also agreed to administer Governor Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Strong tornado relief campaign. Together, the funds raised a total of $20 million. 

One week after the tornado hit the city of Moore in May of 2013, country singer Blake Shelton showed up to host a benefit concert called Healing in the Heartland.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
10:56 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Moore's Rush To Rebuild Left Hundreds Of Homes With A Lesser Building Code

The City of Moore's Shane Speegle inspects one home that is subject to the city's newer, more stringent building code.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

This March, Moore, Oklahoma became the first city in the nation to adopt a tornado-specific building code. City officials wanted homes to be able to withstand an EF-2 or EF-3 tornado.

But six months after the new regulations took effect, it turns out not all new homes built in the tornado’s path will have these upgrades.

Last week, on a block near Moore’s rebuilt Plaza Towers Elementary School, city official Shane Speegle walked through one house that had just been framed to check the progress.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:00 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Insurance Increase: Homeowners' Premiums Skyrocket After Oklahoma's 2013 Tornadoes

StateFarm Flickr Creative Commons

After a series of severe storms swept through the state in May of last year, insurance carriers paid out over $1 billion in claims, making it the nation’s most costly disaster of 2013.

Most insurance issues have now been settled, but many homeowners are looking at higher rates than they were paying before the storm.


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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:52 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Without FEMA Funds, Numerous Oklahoma Counties Sit On Expired Disaster Plans

Grady County's emergency manager Dale Thompson is in charge of updating a county-wide hazard mitigation plan, identifying each hazard the area faces.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

With threats ranging from ice storms to tornadoes, Oklahoma ranks first in the nation in the number of presidentially declared disasters over the past 14 years.

That’s why the state says it's important for local officials to maintain hazard mitigation plans, explaining the steps they're taking to reduce or eliminate their risks. But keeping things up-to-date has proven tough. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:44 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Moore Waits To Apply For FEMA's Safe Room Rebate Program

Wesley Fryer - Flickr Creative Commons

After last year’s tornadoes in central Oklahoma, FEMA allocated $4 million in hazard mitigation funding for communities to safeguard against future severe weather.

The City of Moore didn’t qualify for that money because of an expired hazard mitigation plan. Moore has since updated the plan and is now eligible for future FEMA money. But it doesn’t look like officials plan on applying for that funding any time soon.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:22 am
Mon August 18, 2014

Students Return To New Schools After 2013 Moore Tornado

10-year-old Marissa Miley returns Tuesday, August 19, to Briarwood Elementary School
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

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.

10-year-old Marissa Miley was finishing up third grade at Moore’s Briarwood Elementary last year when an EF-5 tornado destroyed her school.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:52 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Tornado Survivors Share Stories Of Strength

Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

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. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:45 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Auditing the Storm: A Look At Low-Interest Disaster Loans

The Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center was approved for the largest Small Business Administration disaster loan for damage in the May 31 storms.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
12:04 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Tornado Victims Frustrated With SBA Loans

Scott Burkhart of Moore obtained an SBA disaster loan of more than $30,000 to pay for lost belongings and damage not covered by property insurance. The family just moved back into their house.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

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.

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