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Remembering the Moore, Oklahoma tornado one year later

Moore, Okla. tornado development, May 20, 2013. (Chance Coldiron and Justin Cox via YouTube)

A year ago, violent, rotating thunderstorms erupted in the Southern Plains. Near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, in a matter of minutes, a small swirl in the clouds transformed into a horrifying monster vortex – at the top of the tornado scale – that then carved a devastating 14-mile path, killing two dozen people.

Reports Post Nation:

A year later, the people of Moore are still recovering. People injured in the storm are still healing, those who lost homes continue the work of rebuilding. Like so many disasters, it was a relatively brief flash of terror and pain and danger followed by the long, slow process of recovery.

Recalling the 7 children that lost their lives at Plaza Towers Elementary School, NBC News asks why Oklahoma hasn’t mandated its schools have tornado shelters:

Only a third of Oklahoma’s schools have shelters, and politicians are still fighting over how to pay for protection for the other 1,100 schools and 500,000 students and staff. The state at the heart of Tornado Alley has no building code requiring that schools include shelters, and no statewide means of paying for them.

RelatedHow do you protect kids at school from violent tornadoes?

Beyond the tales of loss and soul-searching, the anniversary also offers a sharing experience for stories of survival

Gary McManus, Oklahoma’s state climatologist, tells his personal story from the storm on his blog, The Ticker.  An excerpt:

The power went out as the house creaked and moaned, a cacophony of sounds generated by one of the most violent tornadoes in recorded history. Our wifi was now useless. Time was no longer moving quickly. One of my daughters was crying loudly, I’m not sure which one. My son stared at a flashlight he held as if concentrating on that light would make it all go away. The garage door was being pelted with debris through the ordeal, which we mistook for our house being lifted away. I’m not sure how one would tell the difference. Slowly, the roaring stopped and in the suffocating air, I decided to open the shelter, terrified of what I would find. To my surprise, our house seemed okay as we emerged into the dark garage and lifted the powerless garage door. What I saw shocked and amazed me … a sky full of debris, falling all around me.

On, NBA MVP and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant narrates a heart-warming story about a boy, his adult friend and his father:

The Moore tornado will go down in weather history history books as one of the most violent ever observed.

For me, the visual of Moore that is hard to erase is the video of the storm’s development.  I’ve never seen a twister grow so big so fast:

For comprehensive meteorological information on the Moore tornado, see this Web site from the National Weather Service forecast office in Norman, Okla.: The Tornado Outbreak of May 20, 2013