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’99 tornadoes taught lessons, Oklahoma weather experts say

BY JAMES S. TYREE Modified: May 2, 2009 at 11:01 am •  Published: May 2, 2009
NORMAN — The historic tornado outbreak that swept through Oklahoma 10 years ago Sunday taught emergency management directors and meteorologists the same lesson: Warn the public loud, often, and in as many ways possible.

Public safety officials, weather forecasters and researchers, television meteorologists and others shared their perspectives on the deadly storms Friday at the May 3 Tornado Outbreak 10th Anniversary Event at the National Weather Center.

The outbreak of tornadoes — one of which peaked with wind speeds over 300 mph — left 44 people dead and destroyed more than 2,700 houses and apartments, and 164 businesses. Most of the toll was in Oklahoma and Cleveland counties.

Moore Emergency Manager Gayland Kitch said his city and others have ratcheted up storm awareness since then. Moore had 12 outdoor sirens 10 years ago. Now it has 33, with three more of them on the way.

Warning radios are becoming more common, and cities are using social networking and text messaging more to alert the public of severe weather.

"There is no one single means of warning that’s going to reach everybody,” Kitch said.

Television meteorologists also shared how severe weather is covered now compared with 1999.

What’s ahead?

to sign books

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will sponsor a book signing Monday to mark the pre-release of Carolyn Stager’s book, "Twist of Faith.” Stager survived an F-5 tornado in 1999 that caused extensive damage in central Oklahoma. Stager is executive director of the Oklahoma Municipal League. The book signing is set for 4 to 6 p.m. on the fourth-floor rotunda.





special coverage of the 10th

anniversary of

the May 3, 1999, tornado.


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