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Archives for May 2014

One Year Anniversary of the 2013 Tornado Outbreak

Photo Credit: Ks0stm

Photo Credit: Ks0stm

A year ago today was the start of the tornado outbreak in Oklahoma, which claimed 26 lives in the state. While we were warned that a significant outbreak was likely, no one could have predicted what would happen.

On Sunday, May 19th conditions were right for supercells and they quickly developed along the dry line near the Interstate 44 corridor. The storms produce many tornadoes, impacting Edmond, Luther, Arcadia, Carney, Norman, Lake Thunderbird, Shawnee, and Prague. The most intense storm was an EF-4 tornado which hit the town of Shawnee. Two people lost their lives in that storm.

We knew May 20th would be another very high risk day for tornado activity but again we had no idea the tragedy that would hit Oklahoma that day. We watched in horror as a violent EF-5 tornado was headed straight to Moore, Oklahoma. Following a similar path to the May 3rd, 1999 tornado that devastated the OKC metro. And this time the storm was hitting while children were in school and in the path of the tornado.

The tornado damaged or destroyed more than 13,000 homes and killed 24 people, including seven children that were taking shelter inside Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was destroyed by the tornado. Damage from the storm can still be seen in Moore as people are still cleaning up and rebuilding.

So far this year has been fairly quite as far as tornadoes go, with no significant outbreaks. However, some scientists fear climate change could make violent tornadoes, like those Oklahoma saw last year, more common. As we remember those that we lost last year, we must work to be more prepared for storms in the future.


Earthquake ‘Warning’ Issued for Oklahoma

(U.S. Geological Survey)

(U.S. Geological Survey)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has issued an earthquake warning for Oklahoma. This is the first earthquake warning east of the Rockies.

Earthquake warnings are more commonly issued for Western states following large earthquakes, to warn of damaging aftershocks. However, the USGS hopes issuing this warning in Oklahoma will help residents be more prepared for the possibility for a large earthquake.

“The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased remarkably since October 2013 – by about 50 percent – significantly increasing the chance for a damaging magnitude 5.5 or greater quake in central Oklahoma.”- U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS)

The U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey found that 145 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred in Oklahoma from January 2014 through May 2nd, 2014. This breaks the previous annual record of 109 earthquakes in 2013. The long-term average earthquake rate, from 1978 to 2008, was two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year.

This has lead to the USGS and OGS warning those living in central and north-central Oklahoma that the likelihood of damaging earthquakes has increased.

The recent analysis from the USGS and OGS suggests that wastewater injection is likely a contributing factor in the increase of earthquakes.  The phenomenon has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases recently identified in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas, and Colorado. A recent publication by the USGS suggests the magnitude 5.0 foreshock to the 2011 Prague, Okla., earthquake was caused by fluid injection, that earthquake may have triggered the historical magnitude 5.6 earthquake.

The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak has recommended that Oklahomans make sure they have earthquake insurance. It’s estimated only one percent of Oklahomans currently are insured for earthquakes. You can also find tips for how to be prepared for an earthquake on the Oklahoma Government website.

We’d like to hear what you are doing to prepare for earthquakes and whether or not you have earthquake insurance. Comment below or on our Facebook page