Tornado shelter added on campus at Frederick tech center – An above-ground tornado shelter, or safe room, was recently constructed at the Great Plains Technology Center Tillman/Kiowa campus for the protection of its staff and students.

The 10-by-56-foot shelter, which has a capacity of 90 to 100 people, is behind the main campus. It was constructed by Thomasville, Ga., firm Survive-A-Storm at a cost of $97,797. That firm has also constructed tornado shelters for Henniges Automotive in Frederick and at Altus and Tinker Air Force bases.

The safe room is constructed of quarter-inch steel plates with quarter-inch tubing that is welded from the top of the door to the foot-thick concrete foundation. It is designed to withstand up to an F-5 tornado. It is anchored on the outside by red head anchor bolts about 14 inches apart. It is ventilated by exhaust fans.

Inside are lights that are activated when electrical power is lost and a power generator kicks in. The generator runs on LP gas piped from a gas line behind the shelter. There is also a first aid kit and fire extinguisher in the shelter along with a restroom with a chemical toilet.

There are detachable seating benches inside and designed for adjustment to permit wheelchairs inside.

Jim Smith, instructor of agricultural machinery technology at the tech center, said the decision to add the shelter was made by the institution’s board based on the Frederick area’s having a higher percentage of storms capable of producing tornadoes than the Lawton area. See more…


Research finds tornado damage impact could triple by end of 21st century are one of the most unpredictable weather phenomena on Earth. Each year the United States, home to more tornadoes than any other country, sustains billions of dollars of damage, death, injuries, and disruption from the violent storms. But, according to the results of a research team led by Stephen Strader, a meteorologist and assistant professor in Villanova University’s Department of Geography and the Environment, the potential for annual tornado impact magnitude and disaster could triple by the end of the 21st century. While climate change may be an exacerbating factor for risk, an additional culprit, according to the study published in the journal Climatic Change, will be an increasing number of homes, structures, and developed land in tornado-prone regions such as the Central Plains and Southeast.

Although the projected 21st century escalation in tornado frequency and magnitude will play a role in elevating disaster consequences, urban sprawl, which increases “societal exposure by building vulnerable man-made structures in the potential path of future tornadoes may be more important than future changes in climatological risk,” Strader and colleagues contend. Metropolitan areas in high-risk tornado regions like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis, could be at increased disaster probability.

“Because tornado disasters are a product of both the physical environment [tornadoes] and society, our research highlights the importance of examining the effects of both future climate and societal changes on tornado disaster frequency and magnitude,” says Strader.

Proactive measures designed to help combat the effects of increasing tornado disaster potential are recommended, including: building storm shelters or safe rooms; improving hazard risk communication and warning dissemination systems; retrofitting existing structures for greater resiliency; the adoption of new and enforcement of existing building codes and zoning policies that take tornado hazard risk into consideration. See more…


Oklahoma contractor accused of scamming tornado victims, sentenced to prison Brieon Sumlin

Oklahoma contractor Glenn McCoy was sentenced to prison Monday May 23, 2017. (Cleveland County Jail)

A Cleveland County judge has sentenced a contractor accused of scamming victims of the May 2013 Moore tornado.

According to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Glenn Allen McCoy, 52, has been sentenced to serve a 10 years in prison Monday.

Charges were originally filed on McCoy, the owner of A Better Choice Construction, in 2014 for embezzling more than $100,000 from home and business owners, including three homes damaged or destroyed in the May 2013 tornado, according to reports.

In 2014 authorities were unable to find McCoy in Oklahoma, but located him more than a year later in Kentucky.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, the Consumer Protection Unit received numerous complaints stating that they had paid McCoy for work that was never completed.

McCoy has been ordered to pay more than $140,000 in restitution to the victims.

He has been sentenced to six counts of embezzlement and one count of committing a pattern of criminal offenses. See more…


Tornadoes Kill Two as Deadly Storms Strike From Texas to Great Lakes Region — One person was killed when a tornado swept into a mobile home park in Wisconsin Tuesday and another person died when a twister hit a housing subdivision in Oklahoma, as a massive severe storm system battered an area stretching from the South Plains of Texas to the Great Lakes.

In Wisconsin, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald told several media that the tornado damaged the Prairie Lakes Estates trailer park north of Chetek. The National Weather Service reported the tornado touched down in the area just after 5:30 p.m.

Helicopter video from WCCO-TV and KARE-TV shows extensive damage at the trailer park, with several homes reduced to rubble.

“It’s a mess,” Fitzgerald told the Leader-Telegram of Eau Claire. “It’s pretty bad. We have at least one deceased so far and we’re still in a search pattern.”

Fitzgerald described the scene to KMSP-TV as “total devastation” and said first responders could hear people yelling for help when they arrived. He said at least one child was among the injured. See more…


4 dead after tornadoes sweep through parts of Texas Keri Blakinger

A dangerous storm front will thrash the U.S. midsection over the weekend with torrential rainfall, damaging winds and large hail that will leave behind the threat of flooding throughout the region, the National Weather Service warned.

At least four people are dead and dozens more injured in one Texas county after tornadoes battered parts of the state, officials said Sunday.

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes in Canton area and one in Caney City. One twister tore along a 35-mile path, tossing vehicles and destroying a car dealership on Interstate 20, according to footage of the scene.

Although Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett initially told local media of five deaths, she revised that number down to four at a press conference Sunday morning.

“The damage was extensive,” she told reporter gathered at the local police station.

“It is heartbreaking and upsetting to say the least.”

More than 50 people were rushed to hospitals with injuries from the storms, and a spokeswoman for East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare Systems said she expected more to come. Although one person was in critical condition, most of the injuries were not deemed life-threatening.

Door-to-door searches were underway Sunday morning, although Everett discouraged volunteers from showing up, saying the situation was still “too fluid.”

“We’re not allowing anyone into the affected areas,” Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick added. See more…