The Norman Transcript

News Features

May 24, 2013

Family shelter saves 11 lives



Sally’s home wasn’t completely leveled; Control Flow was another story. The tornado wiped away the building, leaving behind oil-soaked ground. It twisted, tossed and wrapped beams around each other in pretzels of steel.

It dropped a small car, recognizable only by its blown-out tires, on top of debris piled a dozen feet high.

n n n

Avoiding that disaster didn’t mean survival came easily for those working at Control Flow.

At first, Mosley and his colleagues stood on Sally’s wraparound porch. From the house’s perch on the crest of a hill, they had a perfect view of the approaching storm. They considered the chances it would hit them to be small. Mosley even snapped a few pictures of the approaching twister with his smartphone.

Conditions changed quickly. Baseball-sized hail rained upon them. The group scrambled to the cellar and huddled inside the cramped, damp and dark shelter.

Mosley couldn’t recall how many minutes passed inside the shelter. But he vividly remembered what he saw and heard: The sound of hail pounding the ground above their heads. The drone of a tornado that quickly grew to a deafening roar. A woman crying uncontrollably as she fought a panic attack.

Insulation flew into the shelter through the air vent. Mosley worried that a slow-moving tornado could suck out the oxygen from the air, suffocating everyone inside the shelter, even if the winds never reached them.

“I wanted to cry, too, but I had to try and keep my composure,” he said. “The roar was unbelievable and the power of it was incredible.”

There was one other sound: Throughout the tumult, Mosley’s wife held the line. His cell phone connection with her stayed intact even as others in the mile-wide path of the tornado lost all service.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013