The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

May 24, 2013

Oklahoma gets far more than its share of disasters

(Continued)

Oklahoma is in a particularly busy and dangerous section of Tornado Alley, the cluster of states in the nation's midsection that are especially twister-prone.

If you map all the nation's tornadoes in May — the busiest tornado month — they form a circular blob 100 miles across over central Oklahoma. That's because low-pressure systems rush south down the Rocky Mountains and collide with warm, moist air, forming nasty thunderstorms that often spawn tornadoes, said Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at the Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla.

"Welcome to the sweet spot of severe thunderstorms," Brooks said.

Texas, Kansas and Florida get more tornadoes than Oklahoma does, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But Oklahoma gets more of the biggest ones — the EF5s, like the one that smashed Moore. That's why the storm lab and the National Weather Service storm prediction center are in Oklahoma, Lindell said.

With severe thunderstorms, you can get both tornadoes and flooding. Oklahoma has been declared a disaster 35 times because of tornadoes and 44 times because of flooding. In some instances, a combination tornado-and-flood disaster was declared.

The FEMA database looks only at how often catastrophes are declared and aid is shipped, not at how much total money is given out.

Tornadoes generally occur more frequently than hurricanes and earthquakes but usually don't cause as much damage. Oklahoma City officials estimate the Moore tornado caused up to $2 billion in damage, while state officials say it may exceed the figures for the 2011 Joplin, Mo., tornado. At $2.8 billion, Joplin is the nation's costliest tornado since 1950, according to NOAA.

Yet NOAA's National Hurricane Center lists more than 30 hurricanes that caused more than $2.8 billion damage when adjusted for inflation. Hurricanes tend to hit broader areas, last longer and strike the more densely populated coast, where property values are higher.

Text Only
AP National
  • Senate likely to come up short on border bill WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to deal with the immigration surge at the border appears headed for procedural defeat in the Senate as lawmakers trade blame over their inaction on the crisis. Days ahead of Congress' five-week summer recess, Senate Democrats

    July 30, 2014

  • House set to take up $17B VA overhaul bill WASHINGTON (AP) — With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is likely to move quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care. The House could vote on the $17 bill

    July 30, 2014

  • Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids WASHINGTON (AP) — When FBI agents and police officers fanned out across the country last month in a weeklong effort to rescue child sex trafficking victims, they pulled minors as young as 11 from hotel rooms, truck stops and homes. Among the 168 juve

    July 30, 2014

  • The man responsible for Hilton's grand turnaround McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Nearly every weekend, Chris Nassetta is cooking in his family's oversized kitchen, outfitted with two commercial-grade refrigerators, three sinks and a deep fryer. These aren't small meals. Between his wife, six daughters, friends,

    July 30, 2014

  • What's a group selfie? Usie (pronounced uss-ee) NEW YORK (AP) — What do you call a group selfie? An usie, of course! As in "us." Pronounced uss-ee, rhymes with fussy. "Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies," said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of mark

    July 30, 2014

  • With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support WASHINGTON (AP) — As the war in Gaza escalates, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military campaign against Hamas. Many even have criticized the administration's effort to

    July 29, 2014

  • Abuse suspect dead; two marshals, NY policeman hurt NEW YORK (AP) — A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a boy was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a small smoke shop in one of New York's most bustlin

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute. These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bill

    July 29, 2014

  • Despite good news, benefit programs face problems WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite some good news, Medicare and Social Security still face long-term financial problems as millions of baby boomers reach retirement. Social Security's disability program is already in crisis as it edges toward the brink of ins

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR ENTERS FOURTH WEEK — DURATION, DEATHS MATCH FIRST CONFLICT Heaviest bombardment in Gaza yet as Israeli aircraft, tanks and nav

    July 29, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National