Incredible tornado hits Oklahoma
Requests by the Red Cross saw trained and prepared radio amateurs involved in the tornado-devastated areas of Oklahoma on Monday, May 20. Officials said the twister claimed 24 lives including 10 children. More than 375 people were reported injured when the tornado swept through areas including Moore, Oklahoma's 7th largest city.
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ARRL Oklahoma Section Emergency Coordinator Mark Conklin N7XYO, reports that the Red Cross called for help with their food handling centre at the Incident Command Post. He said the strategic post served the areas suffering the brunt of the tornado. The radio amateurs there have now been stood down. Meantime the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) were in Moore, ready to support and assist. ARRL Oklahoma Section Manager Kevin O'Dell N0IRW, said the tornado disrupted cellular services.
The tornado damaged or destroyed 1200 homes and affected 33,000 people. Moore and other towns have a big clean-up task ahead. Property damage is estimated at $2 billion, utilities are still down in many areas, and some businesses destroyed with employment lost. The National Weather Service said the tornado cut a 27-kilometre long swath in 50 minutes, generated winds ranging 200-210 miles per hour, making the storm in the most powerful category possible.
Another twister in May 1999 damaged twice as many homes, and according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management that was deadlier - in an area known as tornado alley.
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