Moore Residents Remember May 3 Tornadoes

Monday, May 2nd 2011, 11:59 pm
By: News 9

Gan Matthews, News 9

MOORE, Oklahoma -- Oklahomans know all too well what it's like to try to recover from a major tornado, and many Moore residents are remembering what they went through on May 3, the 12th anniversary of the worst outbreak of tornadoes in Oklahoma history.

On May 3, 1999, the most powerful tornado ever recorded descended on Moore. Those who were there in the Highland Park addition will never forget that day.

"You look up and,yeah, it's a beautiful blue sky and everything, but there was a sense of something. I just wasn't catching it," said Gwendolyn Adams, who survived the May 3 tornadoes.

The twister destroyed Adams' two-story house. She and her husband rebuilt a one story home on the same spot.

John Mowry stayed in the neighborhood too. Twelve years ago he took shelter in his daughter's cellar.

"We could hear it coming through. It was shaking the cellar. When we got out, we didn't have any trouble getting home. We just walked right through. The fences were gone," Mowry said.

Afterwards, Moore got a FEMA grant and added 21 new sirens around town. The new ones are battery-powered.

"If we lose commercial power, due to the storm or for other reasons, we still have ability to give warning to our citizens," said Gayland Kitch, Moore Emergency Management Director.

Adams may have survived the May 3 tornado, but the experience changed her.

"Let me tell you, when they start saying we might have tornadic weather, we stay up till we know it's all clear," Adams said.