Here are some photos I’ve taken to document the May 20, 2013 Oklahoma Tornado that went through Moore. It may prove to be the most devastating tornado we have ever had, outdoing the May 3, 1999 disaster. Preliminary estimates put the damage toll at $2 billion and 1,150 houses destroyed.

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I drove 2 hours to get through/around the damage zone in Moore on Wednesday. It’s amazing to see the response at every level. Private organizations, cities, counties, charities, and even FEMA (yikes!) are all working together as we start the rebuilding process.

workers cleaning up tornado damage on side of highway

I-35 was backed up for miles in both directions. The tornado crossed over the highway about a mile from here.

After going to my church for a special Wednesday service, I learned 10 of our members lost their houses or had significant damage. Amazingly, none were hurt because they were either at work, in a shelter, or otherwise gone for some reason.

I spoke with Alan and Sarah Moriartay, whose house was one of only two left standing in their neighborhood. I also have some raw audio of Alan and another’s account of Monday’s tornado that will be available later.

Other roads are also being blocked by police in order to ensure only property owners or those helping with the cleanup enter the disaster area. This is a notably different approach than going door-to-door with SWAT teams and demanding to enter people’s private property. Oklahoma time and again can be commended for its positive use of law enforcement in these situations. There is a lot to be proud of them for, as well as our EMS and Fire Departments.

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