The Norman Transcript

Government

October 9, 2013

Council members adopt ordinance eliminating city’s public storm shelters

NORMAN — Norman residents have about six months to develop and practice plans to take shelter before tornado season returns.

Norman City Council members adopted an ordinance Tuesday officially eliminating the city’s designated public storm shelters. The shelters were at schools and city recreation centers and were not tornado safe by FEMA standards.

“The schools (where people were sheltering) are no safer than the average residential structure,” Norman Fire Chief James Fullingim said.

Fullingim said opening the shelters gives people a false sense of security. It also means people may be on the road when a tornado hits.

The Norman Fire Department, the Red Cross and the Central Region of the Oklahoma Emergency Management Association recommend sheltering in place as a best practice.

Fullingim said it is key for people to develop a personal and family safety plan for tornadoes and other emergencies and then to practice that plan so all family members are familiar with what to do in an emergency situation.

People should stay informed, Fullingim said. Often, severe storms are predicted several days out. While meteorologists are not able to predict the exact path of a tornado three days in advance, large, dangerous storms are often predicted to hit an area days ahead of time.

If a storm is predicted, people should stay tuned into weather channels and weather radio and prepare to take cover.

Fullingim said the average lead time on a tornado is 15 minutes, but it can be less than two minutes.

He said while public shelters may work in a small community where everyone is within an eight-minute walking distance, for a city Norman’s size, public shelters are not practical.

This spring, people were standing outside of the public storm shelter because there were more people than there was space inside, he said. On May 31, people across central Oklahoma panicked and left their homes rather than sheltering in place.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Government
  • Council OKs $48.8M contract for wastewater plant upgrades

    The Norman City Council awarded a $48.8 million project for wastewater treatment plant upgrades Tuesday. The council accepted a $50.3 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund....

    April 23, 2014

  • Craft breweries new category of Okla. made

    Norman will now recognize Oklahoma brewers to allow craft breweries to operate under special licensing. On Tuesday, the city council approved the creation of an additional category of Oklahoma Brewer to the city’s fee schedule for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • City home first to include gray water system

    Neighbors are likely to be green with envy when Allen and Sallie Ahlert have a beautiful lawn and garden without paying extra for city water in the future. That’s because the Ahlerts are including a gray water system in the new home they ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Anti-abortion picketers target Moore schools

    MOORE — Moore City Council member Robert Krows said problems with picketers at schools have gravitated from Norman to Moore and parents are concerned....

    April 22, 2014

  • Oklahoma receives $77.18M tobacco settlement payment

    Oklahoma recieved $77.18 million in annual payments from the tobacco industry under the national Master Settlement Agreement. With the latest receipts, Oklahoma has received $1.16 billion since payments began in 1999. State Treasurer Ken ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Congressman Cole reflects on recovery

    Congressman Tom Cole’s home in Moore was not hit by the May 20 tornado but it came pretty close. His wife has made it clear she wants a saferoom, he said. In a visit to the Transcript on Friday afternoon, Cole talked about tornado ...

    April 19, 2014

  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board grants Norman low-interest loan for facility upgrade

    Norman has been authorized for a $50.3 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to fund Phase 2 of the Norman Water Reclamation Facility upgrade. “It’s the single largest loan OWRB has made,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. ...

    April 17, 2014

  • General fund continues to decline as expenses exceed anticipated revenues

    Norman’s expenses will again outstrip projected revenue in the current budget before the city council. The budget for the fiscal year that starts in July and ends June 30, 2015, projects $210,982,020 in total revenues and $213,436,778 in ...

    April 16, 2014

  • County hears presentation on employment opportunities

    The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation Monday to consider partnering with a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for prison inmates re-entering the community. Patrick Viklund, Center for ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Drilling operation shows policy gap

    While Norman residents are being encouraged to use rain barrels, a Texas oil and gas company is pumping thousands of gallons of treated drinking water into the ground. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission controls permits for drilling, ...

    April 12, 2014

Video
Facebook