tornadoes

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
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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The Protojournalist
11:13 am
Tue June 17, 2014

A Native American Take On Tornadoes

1904-05. Red Stone Church Built Winter
Courtesy of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Musuem of Natural History, University of Oklahoma

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:50 am

While tornadoes continue to tear across America's midsection — taking lives and destroying property — we continue to search for explanations of the phenomenon, in hopes of developing better warning systems and protection.

But after decades of research, funded by decamillions of dollars, the fundamentals of wind funnels remain somewhat mysterious.

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