Moore

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.

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. 

Kate Carlton

One year ago this week, a deadly EF-5 tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, taking the lives of 24 people and destroying over 1,100 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. 

Alise Newby lived right across from Plaza Towers Elementary School last year when the tornado leveled both the school and her house. She isn’t from Oklahoma, so she wasn’t exactly sentimental when it came to finding a new home outside of the devastated town.

Where Was God

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. 

One group has decided to try to tackle life’s big questions through the lens of several storm survivors. 

Chris Forbes calls himself a “faith-based film producer.” After the deadly tornado struck Moore last May – the second EF-5 storm in less than 15 years – he knew there was a story to tell.

The National Guard

In the hours after the tornado tore through Moore back in May, nearly 400 National Guardsmen went to the scene to search for survivors, clear roads and watch for looters. One of those soldiers was Major Dave Mackey. 

“I had an aunt and uncle that they lost everything. As a matter of fact, I didn't even go over there for many days just 'cause I didn't know how it would make me feel,” he said.

Airman Magazine / Flickr

The Norman Regional Hospital Authority has approved plans for a new, 100,000-square-foot, $28.8 million facility for the town of Moore, which was hit by a devastating tornado in May.

The five-story medical center will offer emergency and outpatient services, as well as lab, imaging, ultrasound and X-rays.

The Norman Transcript reports the new facility is slated to open in 2016.

Kate Carlton / KGOU

Kristy Yager is the Public Information Officer for Oklahoma City.  She’s used to creating game plans for emergencies.  So when May 20 came, she made her way to a bunker with emergency managers, police and a handful of city officials.  She’d prepared for the crisis as best she could, but found herself overwhelmed trying to handle the influx of media requests.

“The minute that tornado hit the ground, I started getting national phone calls from everyone, from Fox, from CNN, from ABC, NBC, CBS,” Yager said. “I was having a very hard time managing the calls.”

Kate Carlton / KGOU

Danni Legg transferred her two kids to Kelley Elementary this past August. She moved them from Plaza Towers Elementary, after the tornado in May destroyed the school, causing the death of her middle child, Christopher, along with six other students. Legg says returning to Moore after the tragedy was something she did for her children.

"I wanted my children to understand the town didn't kill their brother," Legg said. "A tornado and the lack of good construction in the building is what killed their brother."

State Farm / Flickr Creative Commons

When the massive EF5 tornado ripped through Moore on May 20, it took out homes and business alike. Since then, the Moore City Council has been considering updating building codes to make homes safer. But as the Journal Record‘s Molly M. Flemming reports, the city’s construction standards for commercial buildings aren’t being altered much:

Those codes are likely to stay the same, with one slight change.

Moore, Okla. continues to rebuild following May’s deadly tornado, and will now enlist the free help of some former inmates in the process.

How to deal with the tornado’s destruction still dominates Moore city council meetings, including Monday’s, where The Norman Transcript‘s Joy Hampton reports a one year contract was approved between the city and the Center for Employment Opportunities: