The Norman Transcript

Features

May 26, 2013

What more can we do?

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Many people had nowhere to go. After May 3, Oklahoma created a rebate program for people who built shelters, and hundreds of people took advantage. Perhaps that saved lives on Monday.

Then there were issues over shelters at public venues. Meteorologists have long feared that a violent tornado would hit a sporting event, a shopping mall or a school. On May 20, the fear became real. The destruction of Plaza Towers Elementary School, where seven children died, is prompting calls for more safe rooms.

After May 3, Bridge Creek Public Schools, southwest of Oklahoma City, expanded its elementary school and all new rooms were reinforced as safe rooms. Kelly Elementary in Moore, also destroyed on May 3, was rebuilt to include safe rooms.

Another lesson from May 3 stemmed from a Texas Tech University study that attracted little interest from state officials. Housing construction was of such poor quality that some homes were destroyed, not by the tornado itself, but by the less-powerful force of inflow, the ground-level winds being pulled into the base of the tornado.

Hurricane straps that secure rafters and anchor bolts that secure the frame can make a difference, especially against less powerful tornadoes. But these also add to home costs.

Construction quality is one reason the Fujita Scale was reassessed after May 3. The Fujita Scale imperfectly measured tornado wind speed based on damage. Damage surveyors had long suspected it took a lot less wind speed to wipe a home off its foundation, and construction quality varies. After 1999, experts created the Enhanced Fujita Scale, or EF scale, which significantly lowered the wind speeds attributed to violent tornadoes and took into account construction quality.

Perhaps the biggest problem is one that forecasters and lawmakers can’t fix: public inaction. As KFOR Meteorologist Mike Morgan implored viewers on May 20, “You cannot delay. You can’t think. You can’t delay. You’ve got to act ...You’ve got to act to save your life and your loved ones’ lives.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014

  • Keep toddler’s hair short to help end hair-pulling habit

    Q: Since our daughter, now 2 years old, was born, we have lived with my parents. Being the first and only grandchild, she has been the center of attention. Several months ago, our son was born and we moved into our own home. Almost ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Replacement for anti-flea drugs

    Dear Dr. Fox: I have a young 19-pound cavapoo. The dog had an adverse reaction to Vectra — agitation, rapid heartbeat, bulging eyes, snapping, etc. We took him to the vet immediately, and the vet indicated that it might have had a ...

    July 17, 2014