We watched the live coverage from a computer at work and sat in awe as the the helicopter panned out to show the massive tornado rip through and destroy blocks of residential housing.
Controlled chaos ensued for days after the event.
First, immediately following the events, every police, fire and EMSA worker was seen driving south. Parents frantically trying to get to Moore and see if their kids were safe at school. This was all happening right as school as letting out for the day, so they put all the schools on lockdown and didn't let anyone leave. Homeowners that lived in the area were trying to drive to Moore to see if their home was spared or obliterated.
No power, limited cell phone access, no water.
We tried to get a hold of our friends who lived 3 blocks from the damage path and finally heard back from them hours later that they were fine. Thankful they had an underground shelter where their kids and mother were seeking shelter.
The eery thing was watching the continuous live coverage and seeing families pull what belongings they could salvage and carry from their homes and just walking...walking away from the damage and walking to a place to shelter for the night. It was really sad and scary. The unknown of what to do next and where to start to put your life back together....
Second, they completely blocked off exits from the highway into Moore that were in the direct path of disaster. This put traffic at a stand still for miles. They also blocked off entire blocks that were reduced to splintered wood while they did search and rescue, then recovery and clean up. If you were trying to get into that part of town and you lived there...you had to have your id checked. If you wanted to volunteer, you couldn't just show up unannounced. They urged people to register with the Red Cross, be trained, and then be dispatched to an area of need.
The following are pictures from the aftermath just two weeks after the storm. This is just a tiny snippet of the damage. Below is what you see on one side of the highway, and if you look to the left, you can see a neighborhood that was badly damaged.
Warren Theatre, 7-11, Moore Medical Center, TFCU branch
The following photos are taken at Veterans park, just three blocks away from where our friends live.
The last photo you can see in the distance a sidewalk and driveway, but no houses. It's very weird to see truly how a tornado even a mile wide can pick and choose what to destroy and want to just leave standing.
We had to drive through the "unaffected" parts of the neighborhood to get back to the main road. You could look down a street and see a few perfectly fine untouched homes, then some badly damaged ones, then one that is half gone and then absolutely nothing after that because every home was then just torn to pieces.