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Oklahoma tornadoes: Hard rain hinders cleanup efforts

Morning storms Thursday made tornado recovery and cleanup difficult in Moore.
by Adam Kemp Modified: May 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm •  Published: May 24, 2013

Rod Jones is tired of being humbled by Mother Nature.

Three days after his home in the Westmoor neighborhood was destroyed by an EF5 tornado, Jones, 31, finally gained access to his house Thursday, only to find what possessions he had left had been ruined by a downpour.

Jones said the rain felt like another slap in the face.

“It's disheartening digging through drywall and brick just to get to a few meaningful items, like photos and certificates and whatever mementos you had,” he said. “It was dry when I first found it, but I left it out here and Mother Nature is kind of acting up right now and everything is soaked.”

Jones was able to pull out a laptop, his military fatigues, a couple of photos and a framed Army flight school certificate.

Across the way, Shirley Arriagada, 44, was helping her daughter, Brandie Black, dig through what remained of her house one block away from Plaza Towers Elementary.

“It's frustrating to her because some people were able to come in on the first front, but we weren't able to get in because we are in the school area,” Arriagada said.

“We wanted to come as early as possible. The rain ruined a lot of pictures that were salvageable and the things that you can't replace were ruined,” she said, adding that mud was making the work go slowly.

Jimmy Lane, 45, had helped his cousin pile things together on Wednesday so they could transport it in a truck Thursday.

“We had some things separated to take today,” he said. “But when we got back out there, it had washed all the way down the street.”

Though the weather turned for the better as the day wore on, Arriagada said nothing can make the process of cleaning up your home any easier.

“I can't even put into words everything people have gone through and what my daughter has gone through, losing everything,” she said. “It's just frustrating because everything gets more wrecked the longer it sits here.”

by Adam Kemp
Enterprise Reporter
Adam Kemp is an enterprise reporter and videographer for the Oklahoman and Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Kemp has interned for the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette and covered Oklahoma State...
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