Monday, May 2, 2011

Tornado tales: An update

I recently posted a story about tornadoes that struck Tushka and Atoka, Oklahoma, in mid-April.  Since that time, far more severe tornadoes and storm systems have wreaked havoc all across the southern United States, with Alabama taking the most direct hit.  The pictures of devastation in Tuscaloosa are unimaginable.  Recent reports put the death toll in Alabama at 236, with over 2,200 injured.  Nationwide, 362 tornadoes occurred during last week's storms, including a record-setting 312 in a 24-hour period.  April 27 was the most deadly day in the United States for tornadoes since 1925.  This video (below) shows the awesome power of the tornado that tore through Tuscaloosa.

Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma, recovery efforts in Tushka and Atoka continue.  A disaster recovery center operated by FEMA, the Oklahoma Emergency Management Department, and the Small Business Administration has opened in Tushka for those affected by the April 14 tornado.  The Red Cross is also offering aid to local residents.  Governor Mary Fallin has requested federal financial aid to help local towns, the county and utilities with infrastructure repairs and other storm-related costs.  And finally, country music is helping to raise funds.  Reba McEntire, who was raised in Atoka County, and Blake Shelton, a native of Ada and a current resident of neighboring Johnston County, will host the “Tornado Relief Concert” on May 26 in partnership with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Choctaw Casino Resort at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant.

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