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Deadly tornados tore through several Oklahoma communities on May 19, 20 and 31, 2013. These are the stories of natural disaster and its aftermath, and of communities healing and recovering.

Powerful Before/After Aerial Images of Moore

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Credit Jamin Yeager / Aerial Oklahoma
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Aerial Oklahoma
The area over the Moore Medical Center before the storm, and the Warren Theatre on May 21, 2013

Stunning visual images have emerged that show a side-by-side comparison of the areas of Moore hardest hit by Monday’s tornado. Follow this link to see an interactive spatial scrawl.

“I've flown over that corridor dozens of times and shoot Southeast 19th Street and Interstate 35 regularly as it's a prime development location,” says photographer Jamin Yeager with Aerial Oklahoma. On Tuesday, he says “we waited for the weather to clear and got airborne by 3:45.”

The pictures show the hardest hit areas between SW 4th and 19th Streets just west of I-35. The entire neighborhood behind the Warren Theatre was flattened, and there’s a noticeable brown tint caused by mud and debris along the tornado’s path.

Yeager was in a small Cessna about 500 feet above the news and police helicopters.

“I racked my brain trying to remember which runs took me over the path,” Yeager says. “Once I located [the original images], I checked which camera/lens combo we'd used at the time as well as rough altitude and coordinated with my pilot.”

Yeager’s parents started Aerial Oklahoma in 1995, and he’s been with the company since 2003. Since then, the company has mostly provided photos for real estate development, as well as historical aerial photography for environmental assessment.

His father took similar photos of the May 3, 1999 tornado and the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

“This is the first big storm I've seen from the air, and well...I should get a storm shelter,” Yeager says. “I'm honestly shocked there wasn't a greater loss of life.”

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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