The Norman Transcript


June 9, 2013

Surviving the storm

NORMAN — Like many who suffered through the tragic events in Moore less than a month ago, the life that Aaron Wright Gray knew before May 20 has forever been changed.

Formerly the entertainment editor at The Transcript, Gray is now the children’s department manager at the Southwest Oklahoma City Public Library. Part of Gray’s job is to go to schools in the Moore area to visit with children about the library’s summer reading program. On May 20, Gray was doing just that at Briarwood Elementary.

About the time the tornado was heading toward Moore, Gray was actually wrapping up her visit at the school.

“In my last presentation, I would say roughly 2:40-2:45, there was a loud clap of thunder and someone came on the intercom and said, ‘If you are in a portable building, come into the building.’ Even though I knew there was a chance of severe weather, I didn’t think we were in tornadic activity. I thought we were just about to have some thunder and lightning,” Gray said.

Soon, Gray said, the school was told to take tornado precautions. Gray started checking in with friends and family on her cell phone, but was having trouble getting service.

“A friend sent me a text as it started to get dark, she said, ‘It’s really big. They are saying get out or get underground.’ At that point, I really started to get worried,” Gray said.

Teachers and staff first told Gray to huddle in a hallway of the school with students. Then, she was told to move into a bathroom.

Still trying to get texts from the outside world, Gray began to hear the powerful tornado as it barreled through the Oklahoma skies.

“For me, when I heard it and the way it got louder, I thought it was going to hit us. Everyone got really quiet because you could hear it hit the building. I felt it because I was by the door. And I smelled it because it had gone through all those pastures. To me, it smelled like fresh cut grass,” Gray said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Couple with autistic children lead Thorn Bush Autism group

    For Leah and Christian Eisenbeis raising two children with Autism is not only a challenge but it’s been a blessing, too....

    April 20, 2014

  • Free pressure canner checks offered

    With warmer weather trying to get a grip on April’s temperatures, it’s time to get the dial on your pressure canner checked. This is a free service provided by the Cleveland County Extension Office, 601 E. Robinson St. in Norman....

    April 20, 2014

  • Norman artist pledges to continue painting until colors fade

    About five or six months ago, I came across an article in The Norman Transcript about local artist Almira Hill Grammer, who had a display of her work at the State Capitol....

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Blood moon’ rising

    I guess we all have one thing in common right now. We survived a “blood moon.” What a whirlwind of a week. It seemed that, like Hillary Clinton, the universe was just tossing shoes at me left and right. Maybe it was a sign I need to slow ...

    April 20, 2014

  • What to know about use of BVO

    Q: I’ve heard about Brominated vegetable oil recently. Could you provide some more information? A: Brominated vegetable oil, also called BVO, is a food additive that is often used to keep citrus flavor emulsified in sodas and sports ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Blessing opens demo garden

    A blustery, gray day didn’t mute enthusiasm for the first Saturday of the spring season April 12 at the Cleveland County Master Gardeners demo gardens and the Norman Farm Market....

    April 20, 2014

  • OHCE members receive awards

    Cleveland County’s Oklahoma Home and Community Education members Carol Doner and Megan Doner were award winners at a recent OHCE District meeting in Mustang....

    April 20, 2014

  • Book signing set

    Author Jerry Webster, of Edmond, will sign copies of his book, “What Brings a Soldier to His Knees,” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings Books, 2300 W. Main St....

    April 20, 2014

  • DeLange receives Eagle Scout award

    Jacob DeLange, 15, a freshman at Norman North High School, recently earned his Eagle Scout award with Troop 285, Last Frontier Council....

    April 20, 2014

  • Parents urged to research ADHD

    Q: Our son has just been diagnosed with ADHD, and we have been told he may need social skills training. He is in third grade, and this is all very new and foreign. Do you know anything about this training, and what does this mean for his ...

    April 18, 2014