MOORE — Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, the city’s cheerleader in chief, said he believes about 90 percent of Moore tornado victims will rebuild there.
On May 19 and May 20, when an EF-5 tornado tracked through Newcastle, south Oklahoma City and Moore, 3,937 structures were impacted and 1,248 were destroyed, according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Lewis, in office since 1994, said 830 homes were destroyed and 386 were severely damaged by the May 20 tornado.
Lewis said many personnel who work at Tinker Air Force Base live in Moore, which provides them with a great location. Lewis said most people are ready to rebuild and a few properties that are structurally sound are already going up.
“I think a lot of people are planning to rebuild here,” he said.
In Moore, debris removal is going well and officials will meet this morning to assess where they are in the process, Lewis said. In 1999, after the May 3 tornado, the process took 61 days to complete, he said.
A snag could be the soundness of cement slabs, Lewis said. Officials are recommending that they be removed, and if residents take them to the curb, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the city for pick-up costs, he said. Working with FEMA has improved a great deal in comparison to 1999, the mayor said.
On May 3, 1999, 74 tornadoes touched down across Oklahoma in less than 21 hours, according to the National Weather Service. A maximum EF-5 on the Fujita Tornado Scale tracked for nearly an hour and a half along a 38-mile path from Chickasha through south Oklahoma City and the suburbs of Bridge Creek, Newcastle, Moore, Midwest City and Del City.
As the skies cleared, officials counted more than 8,000 homes damaged or destroyed and total property damage of nearly $1.5 billion.
Keller Williams Realtor Glen Cosper, who has been serving clients in the metro area for 18 years, was in business on May 3, 1999. Cosper said that back then, it took six to eight months before building began in earnest. Things like collecting all of the debris takes time, he said.