Moore tornado: seven years later

Moore tornado: seven years later
Victims of Moore tornado face obstacles in recovery

Quick Facts

  • An EF-5 tornado ripped through Central Oklahoma
  • 24 killed, more than 200 injured
  • Became the 59th F-5/EF-5 tornado since 1950 (for all of the US)

May 20, 2020, marks seven years since a tornado outbreak that killed 24 people in central Oklahoma.

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It was the last day in a three-day stretch of severe weather across the area. A tornado formed and moved through the Moore area, leaving behind the most devastation and becoming the most deadly tornado of the year.

SOUND: FOX23 Michael Seger talks about the location of storms

Meteorologists tracked the threat of severe weather and anticipated the greatest threat that afternoon as school got out.

The National Weather Service took to Facebook to give people a timeline of the storm that morning around 7:52 a.m.

Information continued to come out into the evening as more showers and storms moved through.

We are very concerned that we could be dealing with dangerous storms - possibly including tornadoes - around school...

Posted by US National Weather Service Norman Oklahoma on Monday, May 20, 2013

NWS issued a tornado watch for much of Oklahoma around 1 p.m.; storms started forming bringing severe thunderstorms through central Oklahoma with large hail and strong winds.

As storms continued to develop and build in intensity, tornado warnings started to be issued.

NWS issues the first tornado warning for this storm at 2:40 PM as meteorologists with NWS started thinking this storm was capable of producing a tornado. 16 minutes later, the beginnings of this tornado were spotted.

At 2:56 p.m., northwest of Newcastle, the tornado marched towards the Canadian River. Quickly, the tornado strengthened into an EF-4 tornado causing large amounts of damage.

FOX23 Meteorologist Michael Seger was in Moore as this deadly tornado ripped through the area, causing damage.

As this tornado continued to march east, it destroyed much of Briarwood Elementary School, leaving EF-5 level damage; no deaths occurred at the school although during school hours.

Continuing to move east, the tornado started moving into more densely populated areas and neighborhoods.

SOUND: Storm hit populated areas, damaged homes

The tornado moved through those densely populated neighborhoods towards Plaza Towers Elementary School causing extensive damage and killing seven children.

The damage continued to increase and cause more damage.

SOUND: FOX23 Michael Seger calls the storm humbling

The FOX23 Severe Weather Team covered the tornado live on the air, keeping people informed as it caused catastrophic damage in portions of central Oklahoma.

Meteorologist Michael Seger fed information back to Chief Meteorologist James Aydelott as he watched this tornado.

SOUND: Talking to James during the storm

As this storm continued to wreak havoc on Moore, it moved towards I-35, killing two more people in the area around the interstate.

Overall, more than 300 homes had EF-4/EF-5 damage along the tornado path.

The City of Moore and Cleveland County Emergency Management officials quickly set up an incident command post. The following day, the post was moved to a fire station to coordinate efforts between multiple agencies.

Seven years later - people in Moore, and around the country, still talk about that day and remember those lost.