MOORE — Gayland Kitch pointed to what he calls his "F-5 windows” at Moore City Hall.
May 3 marks 10 years since he looked through the clear glass panes at a life-taking, life-changing monster tornado packing winds of likely more than 300 mph.
Kitch, the Emergency Management director for the city of Moore, has seen the city hit by an F-3 on Oct. 4, 1998, the F-5 on May 3, 1999, and an F-4 on May 8, 2003.
Connecting the dots
On the morning of May 3 there was a "slight risk of severe thunderstorms,” he said.
But as the day went on, emergency officials monitored the radar, reports and radios. The sirens sounded at 7 p.m., 20 to 25 minutes before the F-5 entered Moore.
"Honestly we knew an hour out that there was a very good chance that we were going to get hit,” he said.
He sat down at an overlay on a map to track the path of the storm.
"At some point I made the mistake of drawing the lines and connecting the dots,” he said, "and I’m like, ‘That’s over Moore.’ I didn’t like that.
"But we had plans, we’d practiced, we’d talked. We’d had exercises. I think we’d probably prepared as much as you can prepare for one.”
Part of the preparation had come seven months earlier — live.
It could happen
The Oct. 4, 1998, tornado was a message, Kitch said.
"If nothing else, it made us realize that it can happen,” he said.
That doesn’t mean Moore hadn’t had tornadoes.