Oklahoma Tornado Project

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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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funds Don't Always Go Where Expected

Stillwater resident Hollie Schreiber received a government rebate on the storm shelter installed on her property after last tornado season.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Tornado Project

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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:51 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Joplin Businesses Continue Recovery With Safety Precautions

Con-way Truckload installed six of these Atlas Safe Rooms for employees around the property after the Joplin tornado.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis / Oklahoma Tornado Project

As we pass the one year anniversary of the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, we’re looking at lessons learned from another devastating storm, three years ago in Joplin, Missouri. Joplin’s EF-5 tornado damaged or destroyed more than 500 businesses, but since that time, the city has made remarkable progress getting back on its feet. As Gail Banzet-Ellis reports, that recovery has included planning for the unexpected.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:31 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Joplin Businesses Bounce Back After 2011 Tornado

Liliya Moos sews on a wedding dress in the alterations shop she and her husband own and rebuilt on Main Street in Joplin.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis / Oklahoma Tornado Project

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. 

 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:29 am
Mon June 9, 2014

3 Years After EF-5 Tornado, Recovery of Hospital Reflects Recovery of Town

Mercy hospital's new state-of-the-art medical campus off Interstate 44 in Joplin, MO is under construction and will be complete by April 2015.
Credit Gail Banzet-Ellis / Oklahoma Tornado Project

This May marks the three-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, just across the northeastern Oklahoma border. As Gail Banzet-Ellis reports, the city, like Moore, Oklahoma, lost a hospital. The community’s health care facilities became symbols of overall recovery and revival.

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School Storm Shelters
8:36 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Take Shelter Oklahoma Announces New Storm Shelter Ballot Proposal

Credit Take Shelter Oklahoma / takeshelterok.org

For the past 9 months, school shelter supporters have fought to get a $500 million bond issue to fund safe room construction on a statewide ballot.  Attorney General Scott Pruitt revised the original proposal, adding what Take Shelter Oklahoma called "biased" and "unfair" language.  But as Kate Carlton Greer reports, the advocacy group announced a new version today. 

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
8:47 am
Wed June 4, 2014

2011 Joplin Tornado Served As Wake-Up Call For School Officials

Irving Elementary School in Joplin, Missouri 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 / Oklahoma Tornado Project

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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:46 am
Tue May 27, 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.
Credit 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 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.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:38 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Documentary Shows Oklahomans Have Faith in Spite of Loss and Devastation

Credit WhereWasGod.com

For many victims of last year’s deadly tornadoes in central Oklahoma, the storms created an existential crisis, where people questioned their beliefs and wondered just what to make of all the destruction in their midst. Kate Carlton looks at one group’s effort to tackle life’s big questions through the lens of several storm survivors. 

“Where Was God” premieres at the Warren Theatre in Moore this Friday, May 16th.  You can buy tickets here.

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Oklahoma Tornado Project
9:02 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Photography Exhibit Showcases May 2013 Storms, Oklahomans' Resilience

A sunflower grows in a field in Moore, Okla. months after the May 20 storm.
Credit Tanya Mattek

The month of May has a somber significance for many Oklahoma residents. It’s one of the busiest months for tornados, averaging 22 cyclones in 31 days. And after last year’s series of devastating storms that killed 25 people, it now also marks a sad anniversary. The Oklahoma Tornado Project and the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center teamed up to remember the events that took place one year ago.

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