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EF-5 Tornado Strikes Moore, Oklahoma... Again

May 20, 2013

It is hard to believe that the City of Moore, Oklahoma could get hit by violent tornadoes so many times. In 1999, the strongest tornado ever recorded hit the city, causing widespread destruction. In 2003, an F4 tornado took a very similar path and cut another swath of devastation through the city. Then, in 2013, yet another violent tornado (EF-5) struck the same city! The odds of this are mind boggling.

At first, it was feared that hundreds of people had been killed, but luckily, the death toll was greatly reduced down to 24, 377 people were treated for injuries. Between 12,000 and 13,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, and 33,000 people were affected.[1] Most areas in the path of the storm suffered catastrophic damage. Entire subdivisions were obliterated, and houses were flattened in a large swath of the city.

There were several tornado-warned storms that day and we were further south, on a different storm at the time. On our radar screen we could see the signature of the debris ball as the tornado went through the city and the reports were coming in live, in real time over the radio.

2 weeks after the tornado struck, I spent some time in Moore, documenting the damage and cleanup efforts.

 

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The Moore Medical Centre.
Cars and debris strewn around the Medical Centre.

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It becomes quite clear why cars are not a safe place in a tornado.
Nothing left but the foundation.

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Early morning light in the town of Moore.
2 weeks after the tornado hit, and the cleanup has barely begun.

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2 cars sandwiched together.
Demolished car in Moore, Oklahoma.

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The entire neighborhood was demolished by the EF-5 tornado.
The complete destruction went on for blocks.

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Piles of debris.
A flag, waving amongst the destruction.

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Debris filled car.
The tornado flipped cars like they were toys.

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This used to be the bowling alley.
The bowling alley, or what's left of it.

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A single, large, heavy object was dropped onto this car. What it was, I have no idea.
Messages from residents.

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A child's toy amid the wreckage.
Not much left of this car.

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It was destruction as far as the eye could see.
The entire neighborhood was trashed by the EF-5 tornado.

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Notice the tree branch embedded in the car's radiator and engine.
City of Moore street sign, bent by the wind.

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Car atop a pile of tornado debris.
Complete destruction.

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