Continuing Coverage of Tornado Outbreaks in North Texas

Moore Tornado Victims Rebuild With New Rules

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "Moore Strong" street signs are on every corner in Moore, Oklahoma one year after a deadly tornado. (Published Friday, May 16, 2014)

    It was late afternoon on May 20, 2013, when a mile-and-a-half wide tornado touched down in Moore, Oklahoma.

    Homeowner Carrie Burkhart was at work when she heard her neighborhood took a direct hit.  After the storm passed, she went to find what's left of her house.

    "I couldn’t even recognize the street," Burkhart said. "I didn’t even know where I was." 

    Burkhart's in-laws were watching her young son across town when the tornado hit.  He was safe but the home she and her husband planned to raise him in was in a pile of rubble.

    "[It's] so overwhelming to see your stuff everywhere," she said. "It was just such an overwhelming feeling."

    The tornado took 24 lives, including seven children at nearby Plaza Towers Elementary School

    Burkhart's home was one of nearly 1,200 that were damaged or destroyed. The storm generated enough debris to cover the basketball court at the American Airlines Center in Dallas in a stack nearly two miles high.

    Parts of Moore now look like a new housing development in North Texas. But with the new homes, come new rules. In April, Moore became the first city in the country to require all new homes to stand up to 130 mph winds with stronger frames, additional bracing and sturdier garage doors.

    "It added a dollar a square foot to the price of homes," said Moore City Manager Steve Eddy.  "We thought that was a small price to pay for safety in the homes."

    Eddy recommends that North Texans consider similar construction changes.

    Carrie Burkhart and her husband will move into their new home any day now. 

    "Sometimes I feel pretty worn down from all of it," said Burkhart. "It's been a tough year."

    Burkhart bristles at the thought of moving out of Moore.

    When people question why we moved back, I sorta get offended. Because this is my neighborhood, this is where I want to be."