Two years ago today, an EF 5 tornado touched down in Moore, Oklahoma, 4.4 miles west of Newcastle. The powerful twister, with wind speeds reaching 210 miles per hour, cleared a path of destruction stretching fourteen miles while on the ground for a full forty minutes.
When it was over, the Moore Medical Center, Plaza Towers elementary school and 1087 homes were destroyed and 23,000 more residential properties sustained damage.
The wind speeds of the Moore tornadoes were recorded as an EF-5, the highest on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, according to the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Twenty-five people, including seven children who were in school at the time, died and 212 were injured.
According to the AP, meteorologists using real-time measurements tracked energy released during the May 20th storm, estimating it at up to 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb.
The storm damage resulted in 172,817 tons of debris. An estimated 11,375 truckloads of storm debris were hauled away between May 29 and September 6, 2013.
The Moore tornado was one of several storms that impacted 20 states during the week of May 20-27, 2011. Combined, the storms are considered the second most costly U.S. catastrophe involving tornadoes, resulting in an estimated $6.9B in insured losses.
In a podcast interview with Claims Journal, Lynne McChristian, the director of disaster response and Florida representative for the I.I.I., said that insurer response was immediate. Mobile claims units were on site quickly, located in an insurance village. She emphasized policyholder education, providing examples of questions insureds had with respect to coverage.
As a result of the devastating tornado, there are now an estimated 5,500 registered residential storm shelters in the city.
In March 2014, Moore became the first city in the nation to address the potential impact of tornadoes on homes by adopting stringent new building codes. New homes need to withstand up to 135 mile an hour winds (standard building codes require homes to be built to withstand up to 90 mph winds).
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management reported that the state averaged around 54 tornadoes a year between 1950 and 2010. During the sixty period, 3466 tornadoes caused the deaths of 281 people and injured 4353. The state agency reported that peak tornado activity occurs in May.
The United States has more tornadoes than any other country.
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