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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.

NWS Report Suggests A Plan For Multiple Severe Weather Events

Meteorlogits and researchers upgraded the El Reno tornado on May 31 as an EF5 and the widest tornado ever recorded.
Norman Forecast Office
National Weather Service
Meteorlogits and researchers upgraded the El Reno tornado on May 31 as an EF5 and the widest tornado ever recorded.

The National Weather Service issued a report Friday examining last May's tornados in Oklahoma. The assessment encourages the Norman Forecast Office to develop a plan for more than one severe weather event at a time.

On May 31, eight people died in the El Reno tornado while 13 died from flash flooding that followed heavy rain. National Weather Service Meteorologist Kenneth Harding says each element of a multiple warning system should be weighted based upon its urgency and severity.

"Norman performed well in providing ample lead time for people to prepare for the tornados and flash flooding,” Harding said on a conference call. “However, members of the public indicated they were well-warned about tornados, but not as much about flash flooding."

Friday's assessment also looked at the weather service's formal warnings and communication during the May tornados, and indicates social media users found the Norman Forecast Office's "aggressive" use of Facebook and Twitter valuable.

"We recommend that the National Weather Service make social media an integral part of backup service operations,” Harding says.


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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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