Norman Residents Recall Last Year's Tornado

Sunday, April 14th 2013, 11:35 pm
By: News 9

It was one year ago when a devastating tornado ripped through Norman. Now, residents have shelters and a plan in place in case another twister strikes.

Just clear out the clothes and a once packed closet becomes a safe room for the Hooper family.

"We throw out the suitcases, and everybody picks a little cubby," says Jerry Hooper. "Because we don't have a basement, and we can't get underground, this is the next best thing we can do."

Hooper and his family have lived in Norman for more than 20 years and say tornados seemed to always pass over the city until last year. That's when a tornado brought roof damage, power outages and an overall mess to parts of Norman.

"I had never seen anything like that here," Hooper said. "The road was completely flooded, trees were literally floating down the street around the corner here."

Just one year later, an apartment complex off 24th Ave. and Brooks St. is still in reconstruction after the tornado took the roof off.

"There are a lot of places that you almost can't recognize now because of the damage done at some city parks," says Jenny Stenis, a Norma resident since 1989. "You know the trees were denuded and you had to take them out."

Stenis was at work when the tornado ripped through her neighborhood, but only tree limbs hit her home. Hooper was away from home too when the storm hit, but says it wreaked so much havoc in certain parts of the city, he has his family do tornado drills.

"We know which room to go to, take mattresses with them," Hooper said. "We have a radio ready with batteries in place in case we lose power...and have a motorcycle helmet ready."

There were a few people injured in last year's tornado, but no reported deaths.

In addition to Norman, several other cities were affected by the tornado last year, including Stella and Lake Thunderbird, and parts of Interstate 35.