CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN and RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated PressAssociated Press
May 23, 2013 | 0 views | 0 | 0 | |
Jesse Edgar takes a break in the shade while helping salvage items at a friend's home Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Moore, Okla. Cleanup continues two days after a huge tornado roared through the Oklahoma City suburb, flattening a wide swath of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
MOORE, Okla. (AP) — A band of thunderstorms battered the Oklahoma City area Thursday, slowing cleanup operations in the suburb where a tornado killed 24 people and destroyed thousands of homes this week.
The first of the funerals, for a 9-year-old girl killed at a Moore elementary school that took a direct hit in Monday's storm, was scheduled for Thursday morning. A family photo showed the girl, Antonia Candelaria, beaming with a big smile and wearing a white sun hat.
Early estimates indicate the tornado caused more than $2 billion of damage in Moore. Whole subdivisions in the fast-growing community of 56,000 people were destroyed. Authorities estimated that as many as 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 33,000 people were affected — an especially traumatic toll for a city that had already suffered three other tornados since 1998.
Two elementary schools were hit — one was leveled — by Monday's tornado. Candelaria was one of seven children who perished at the Plaza Towers Elementary School, a one story building with barely a wall left standing. Altogether, 10 children were killed in the storm, including two infants.
The medical examiner reported that six of the children who died at Plaza Towers suffocated after being buried under a mass of bricks, steel and other materials as the building collapsed. A seventh child who died there, 8-year-old Kyle Davis, was killed instantly by an object — perhaps a large piece of stone or a beam — that fell on the back of his neck.
Thursday's thunderstorms produced hail, heavy rain and high winds in the morning. A flash flood warning was also in effect. The National Weather Service said more severe storms were forecast for late afternoon and at night, and that more tornados were a possibility.
The weather was hampering cleanup and recovery efforts that had just begun to accelerate now that all of the missing have been accounted for. Residents were only formally allowed back into the damage zone on Wednesday afternoon, where they picked through enormous piles of debris.
Shayne Patteson was among them, moving around the ruins of his three-bedroom home. All that was left was the tiny area where his wife hunkered down under a mattress to protect their three children when a tornado packing winds of at least 200 mph slammed through his neighborhood.
Patteson vowed to rebuild, likely in the same place, but said next time he will have an underground storm shelter.
"That is the first thing that will be going into the design of the house, is the storm shelter and the garage," he said as he looked around piles of bricks and plywood where their home once stood.
Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis said Wednesday he would propose an ordinance in the next couple of days to require all new homes to have storm shelters.
The city already has some. After a massive tornado tore a near-identical path in 1999, city authorities provided incentives such as federal grant dollars to help residents cover the costs of safe rooms. This time, though, Lewis thinks it is necessary to compel people to include them in all new construction.
Associated Press writer Tim Talley contributed to this report.
This undated handout photo provided by the Legg family shows Christopher Legg. Christopher was killed when a tornado struck Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Legg Family)
During the execution of a search warrant, members of the Joint Federal Haz-Mat Team, FBI, and local law enforcement gather in front of the Osmun Apartments near the intersection of First Avenue and Oak Street in Browne's Addition on Saturday, May 18, 2013 in Spokane, Wash. The search warrant is in connection with ricin-laced letters intercepted at a Post Office facility in Spokane earlier in the week. (AP Photo/TheSpokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)
Legendary wrestler “Nature boy” Ric Flair is preparing to step into the AWF ring in Ringgold for the second time in a month as part of Wrestle Jam on Thursday, May 30, as he and local “Nature boy,” Paul Lee, plan to settle their on-going feud.
Flair, whose wrestling career spans more than 40 years, is known for his time in numerous wrestling organizations such as the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling (TNA), and of course World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he is recognized as a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion.
The Flair-Lee feud over the “Nature boy” moniker dates back to their WCW days together in the early 1990s.
Although Wrestle Jam is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m., a meet-and-greet is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. where fans can meet Flair, Lee, and the other stars on the card, as well as get pictures and autographs.
The event, a AWFWOW Supershow Production, is scheduled to include hardcore legend Raven, former WCW and NWA tag-team The Rock & Roll Express, and D.O.C. of TNA’s Aces and Eights in additions to AWF stars such as Ironmann, Johnny Rokk, and Lex Lee.
When: Thursday, May 30
Where: The Catoosa County Colonnade
Time: Meet and Greet: 5:30, Bell time: 7:30
Tickets: 706-935-8508 or colonnadecentertix.com.
Read more: CatWalkChatt - Ric Flair to wrestle at AWF’s Wrestle Jam on May 30