Moore Tornado

  • Monday 20th May 2013 at 15:01 was the time of touchdown of the Moore Tornado. It remained grounded for 45 minutes
  • At least 24 confirmed dead
  • The worst effected area was to the south of the city of Moore, Oklahoma, which was hit with wind speeds over 200km/h
  • About 120 people had to be hospitalised
  • President Obama ordered federal authorities to join the search for survivors in the wreckage
  • On the 21st, 24 victims had been identified and returned to their families, although 40 other deaths had occurred, and the bodies had not yet been identified. 20 of the dead were children
  • Several children were hit when Plaza Towers Elementary school took a direct hit. The school’s roof was torn off and the walls knocked down, and 7 children died there
  • Briarwood Elementary school was also damaged
  • The tornado was about a mile wide, and at some points reached about 2 miles’ wide
  • Moore had been prepared for tornadoes, but not of that magnitude. There was a warning in place, but the tornado veered on an unexpected route. It was hard to keep out of the way of it
  • More than 200 Oklahoma National Guardsmen were called in to help search and rescue
  • The path of destruction was a line heading roughly east through the city
  • Many residents did not have anywhere to shelter, due to not having secure basements. There were also insufficient public shelters
  • Scored a 4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale (enhanced Fujita being made to account for events that the Fujita scale can’t accurately showcase)
  • The storm system stretched from Texas to Minnesota
  • A lack of funds and fatalism among residents has meant that response to prevent future events has been minimal
  • Several hundred people were injured
  • Education funding was limited, so schools could not afford proper measures
  • People had been wrongly informed that tornadoes could only hit in the late afternoon and evening
  • Normal behaviour in Oklahoma, due to the presence of so many storms, is to be constantly checking the weather out
  • Many storm chasers follow similar events so that their paths and impacts can be better predicted in the future; and some follow them just to see what they look like. Average people will sell the footage they get from tornadoes to actual TV stations
  • Doppler radar improvements mean that dangerous storms, and storm systems likely to create tornadoes can be more easily identified. Supercell storms which create tornadoes have distinctive patterns of movement within them, which Doppler radar can detect.
  • The loss of recognised places and landmarks can be over-whelming for citizens, especially those who come back to check on friends and relatives, or those who work in journalism, and therefore didn’t see the event itself
  • Frequent weather warnings can create complacency- Oklahoma can receive 80 warnings in a single month
  • Some people say that if they don’t live in tornado-prone areas, their taxes shouldn’t be used to help fund tornado shelters and warnings
  • Citizens of Moore are trying to raise money to add shelters and safe rooms to all the schools in the area, to not only protect children but the whole community
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