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
  • 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

  • Filings finished

    In addition to Ward 2 Norman City Council candidates Clint Williams and Aliesha Karjala several federal, state and county officials will be on the June 24 ballots. Filing for offices that serve Cleveland County residents are: · ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Fracking review online

    The Oklahoma Hydraulic Fracturing State Review is available on the Corporation Commission’s website, occeweb.com. Completed in 2011 by a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization, State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Candidates file for state and federal positions Thursday

    New filings on Thursday include: ; ...

    April 11, 2014

  • City briefs

    Egg hunt today  Norman’s Easter Egg Hunt will be today at Andrews Park. Activities — including moon bounces, games, giveaways and Easter Bunny photos (bring your own camera) — will start at 5:30 p.m....

    April 11, 2014

  • Norman residents among those seeking to run for county, state offices in first day of filing

    Filing for county and state offices started Wednesday and continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday. A handful of Democrats and a trickle of Independents vye with a field heavy-laden with Republican candidates. There are few ...

    April 10, 2014