The Devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, One Year Later | Smart News | Smithsonian
Current Issue
September 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

The Devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, One Year Later

These side-by-side satellite photos show how Moore, Okla., is rebuilding

smithsonian.com

Last year, just before 3 p.m. on May 20, a tornado touched down in Moore, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City. The giant twister spent 39 minutes on the ground, cutting a path a mile wide. It traveled 17 miles, through homes, schools and a hospital. In all, 24 people died, and nearly 1,200 homes were destroyed. The tornado was the ninth deadliest in Oklahoma history, topped in recent memory only by another twister that hit almost the exact same stretch of land 14 years earlier.

As can be seen in the comparison photograph above made by ESRI, in the year since the more recent tornado touched down, the region has undergone a rapid rebirth. On the left, the scar of the tornado track can be seen. On the right, new homes and a new school rise from the rubble.

In all, says NewsOK, 1,400 building permits have been handed out to residents looking to build. Around half of the people whose homes were hit by the tornado have left, says Yahoo, “while the other half either moved to another part of Moore or left the city for good.”

Moore residents are not just rebuilding, though. They're rebuilding with reinforcements, says NBC: “In April, Moore became the first city in the country to require all new homes to stand up to 130 mph winds with stronger frames, additional bracing and sturdier garage doors.”

The city has also set up more than 2,000 storm shelters. And the new elementary school, build to replace the Plaza Towers Elementary School, will have a tornado-safe room, says Today.

In a second comparison photo by ESRI below, the progress of the rebuild becomes more obvious. On the left, the images show Moore before the tornado swept through, while the right shows the same apocalyptic terrain as the left image above.

Tags
About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus