The Norman Transcript

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May 21, 2013

Tornado rekindles nightmare storm of 1999

MOORE — For some residents of Moore, Monday’s events were a reminder of the May 3, 1999, tornado that caused devastation in the same area.

Judy Odem, who’s lived in Moore for 40 years, said she learned after the 1999 tornado that she needed to seek shelter when tornado sirens sound.

Odem lives off South Telephone Road near the Moore Warren Theater and said she watched the storm develop on TV until her television went off and then she hopped into her closet with her three dogs and lots of pillows to ride out the storm. In 1999, 43 people died in Oklahoma tornadoes.

“I could hear the whole train thing and it sounded like things were just pounding on the roof,” Odem said. “It was a nightmare. I just kept thinking it’s gonna come through, it’s gonna come through the roof.”

Odem weathered the 199 tornado with her mother in when she remembers thinking to herself, “God, if it hits us, let it be quick.”

She had a tree uprooted in her front yard and her roof sustained damage, but she got out of the storm unharmed, which, unfortunately, is not something everyone could say.

“I hear at 7-11, there was a woman and a baby killed and a man with a big gash in his back, but I heard he’s still alive,” Odem said.

A family of four sought shelter in their closet in The Fairways at Moore apartment complex. The apartment complex got a little banged up and had lots of broken windows, the family said.

“It was definitely crazy. We watched it form until it came over us and I heard a lot of commotion,” said Michael Smith, who stood telling his story with wife, Abby, and two children. “There was debris everywhere.”

“It was rumbling, the ground was rumbling and all the stuff on the ground was in the air in a circle,” Abby Smith said.

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