While Oklahoma is no stranger to severe storms, Republican Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma said Monday’s deadly tornado that devastated the suburban town of Moore and surrounding areas was far different than others he’s seen before.
Lankford, who represents the 5th District, just miles outside of Moore, noted that the National Weather Service even has its headquarters in nearby Norman, Okla., and that there was ample warning of the brewing twister. On Sunday, he toured devastation from another storm in his Shawnee home district.
“We have fantastic weather service and weather warning. So there was ample warning, even several days in advance, that this looks like this is a serious tornado situation,” Lankford said on Tuesday’s The Daily Rundown. “But you've got to understand, a typical tornado that comes through, an EF-1, 2, or 3, may take off a roof and take out some glass. So people hide in place. But that's a normal tornado. This is not a normal tornado that happened on Sunday in Shawnee and not a normal tornado that happened by far in Moore.”
“For individuals that weren't able to get underground or to a spot like that, that's where we had loss of life,” said Lankford. “Even though people had warning, they went to their normal shelter locations, but it wasn't enough.”
Lankford said that President Obama and FEMA had been helpful in the ongoing recovery and rescue, but that it was too early to tell what kind and how much of federal assistance might be needed to help those affected.
“We don't even know what we need at this point,” said Lankford. “The last time this came through Moore, was about $1 billion. We don't know what FEMA has in their budget. We give them a large budget to be able to handle major disasters. We're early in the year. We don't know what's required at this point.
“We'll have to wait on all the timing and the dollars and all that's for another day,” said Lankford. “Right now we're focused on people and the immediate response and the immediate response is going very well.”