It was an ugly storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma.
The pictures hint at the storm’s size, as seen in this photo posted by Ben Holcomb on Twitter.
When it was gone the devastation was extraordinary. This picture posted by the Oklahoma County Sheriff on Twitter gives just one view of the aftermath.
The random nature of storm damage is always unsettling. Reports say debris from the tornado has been found in Tulsa, 90 miles away, and Branson, Missouri, 250+ miles away.
Moore is a community just south of Oklahoma City. If the city’s name sounds familiar, you may be remembering the 1999 tornado in Moore. That storm killed more than 40 people. Below, a wounded dog is comforted after Monday’s tornado.
Neighborhoods have been obliterated.
This is what’s left of the Moore Medical Center.
This was someone’s home.
First responders were faced with catastrophic conditions.
The property damage is almost impossible to comprehend.
While the structural damage is staggering, the human toll is ghastly.
A mother carries her child to safety.
Children were pulled out of Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Everyone raced to try and rescue children from the school.
You can’t help but see the look of shock on the faces of survivors.
There are reports some children were told to hold onto walls.
This woman is carrying an injured child to a triage are near the Plaza Towers School.
As of this writing, some children from the Towers Plaza School remain unaccounted for.
At another school, Briarwood Elementary, the news was better, everyone is said to have made it out alive. Below we see teachers and parents moving children to safety.
More photos are showing up on social media.
The destruction goes on for miles.
This pup survived but is obviously shaken.
One of the benefits of having almost-instantaneous access to information means that technology can help in the aftermath of a disaster. The City of Moore has already set up a website, Moore Recovers.
There is also a Facebook page for Moore Tornado Lost & Found Pets.
We lived in Oklahoma City for three years, both of us worked at a local affiliate. Mick Cornett, the Mayor of Oklahoma City was actually a sports and news anchor at our station. He has done a remarkable job as Mayor, and seen his share of disasters. Mick toured the damage, and posted this photo on his Facebook page. His one-word reaction to “stunned”.
We were working there. That is the year when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed. We can tell you that Oklahomans are the nicest people you will ever meet. They are kind and they are polite and they are generous; we learned a great deal about humility and courage while living there. Oklahoma City’s booming economy and revitalized downtown are demonstrative of the community’s backbone and resolve, they refused to become defined by the event.
It is a lot for any community, let alone one that dealt with a very similar situation in 1999. Below, another image from this tornado.
The recovery and rebuilding will be of gargantuan proportions.
If so inclined you can help in a variety of ways.
- Charity Navigator has a brief post and list of agencies that are rated 3-star and 4-star per their criteria
- If looking for news on family members Safe and Well is a site run by the Red Cross. People can register themselves as being safe and well, loved ones can look for them on the site.
- Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10, or donate to the Red Cross via an online donation or by phone.
- Text STORM to 80888 to contribute $10 to the Salvation Army’s relief efforts, you can also donate via phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
- Many, many people will need food, text FOOD to 32333 to assist the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank
- The Southern Baptist Convention promises donations will go directly to help those in need, providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters, this is the page for that group .
- Animal care will be a challenge, it always is after this sort of thing. In previous disasters national animal welfare agencies have accepted donations targeted for specific relief aid, I imagine that will be the case again here. I’ll update with a link(s) should I find any.
- To visit the Oklahoma Humane Society donation page click here; the Central Oklahoma Humane Society (located in OKC) Facebook page is here
- The American Kennel Club has set up a designated page for those interested in helping. As always, designate “Oklahoma tornado relief” in the space provided
- Just reading the list of animals already found in the Edmond Sun gives you an idea about the scope of the challenge
- The Animal Resource Center in OKC is helping to shelter pets, they request any donations be made to A New Leash on Life; specify the donation is for tornado relief and the funds will go to them.
- If interested in donating goods as opposed to money, the Central Oklahoma Humane Society has posted a brief list of what they need on Facebook