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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma Tornadoes: Why Did So Many Die?

Moore Oklahoma before and after photos are here at heavy.com

I'm having a hard time understanding why so many people died in the May 20, 2013 tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma. The death toll has been revised downward but still it is too high.

This part of the US is called Tornado Alley. The 2013 tornadoes followed the path of 1999 tornadoes. The 2013 tornadoes were large and there was advance warning. I wonder why more people did not seek underground shelter.

A Facebook friend from Oklahoma pooh-poohed the idea of storm shelters as unfeasible because too difficult to build. I question that. I grew up in a house with a sturdy cellar that was dug out largely by my father and my brothers. My father was a Polish peasant. Peasants build and use cellars for vegetable storage and smoking meat. In other words, cellars are not high tech, not recent innovations, not prohibitively expensive. The school I went to, in a low income area, had a sturdy cellar.

The UK Telegraph reports:

"Moore has no designated public storm shelters, nor does Oklahoma City itself. Edmond also has no public shelters, but Norman has two and Midwest City has three. Residents in Oklahoma are offered the opportunity to receive a federal grant as part of a safe room rebate program, which gives them $2,500 upon installation of a shelter. In Moore, the city was expecting to apply for around $2 million to assist 800 home owners to build shelters. However, the programme was placed 'on hold' as they waited for 'wrinkles' to be ironed out of the grant application process."

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