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Okla. tornado ‘looks worse’ than deadly 1999 Moore twister


For many residents of Moore, Okla., Monday’s devastating tornado was an unwelcome bit of déjà vu: in 1999, another deadly twister slammed the city, killing 36 people and injuring 583 others.

Fourteen years ago, the Bridge Creek/Moore tornado was one of only six tornadoes in U.S. history to cause more than $1 million in damage, impacting more than 8,000 homes and ultimately costing $1.4 billion to clean up.

Former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., who represented the Sooner State from 1981 until his retirement in 2005, and Politico reporter Lois Romano, who was a correspondent in Tulsa for a decade, were there for that deadly storm more than a dozen years ago, and said on Tuesday’s The Daily Rundown that the current devastation in Moore could be similarly costly.

“I’ve been and seen, witnessed the recoveries of a lot of tornadoes, but the one in [1999] in Moore stands out, because it was so devastating,” said Nickles. “Frankly, we were so lucky in 1999. It was a devastating tornado, just missed a high school…and no one was killed, I don’t think, in the high school. It could have killed hundreds, so we were very fortunate. But it was devastating. And this just looks just like it.

“I think it looks worse” than the tornado 14 years ago, Romano said. ”I can remember driving from Tulsa to Oklahoma City that morning and it’s like what you would imagine Armageddon to be. I mean, you’re looking around and tractor-trailers are totally turned on their sides and houses are kind of decimated. And when we got to the core about it, the thing about these tornadoes, is that they strike with an odd precision. So you’ll walk to a home and all the walls will be down, right, the roof will be off, and the china closet will be standing there with china in it without anything touched.”

Nickles said that while Oklahomans are used to tornadoes, it will be a difficult recovery for the community of Moore and surrounding areas.

“They are resilient and they’ll bounce back,” said Nickles.  “But for this area, it is devastating.”