September 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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TragedyinOklahoma | By Jeff Salmond, CSFM TWO EXAMPLES of damage from the tornado. Important things in life: "Moore" than grass H OW OFTEN IN LIFE DO WE TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED? How often are we so caught up in our jobs and responsibilities that we just stop for once what we are doing and be thankful for what do have? Our families and relatives, our house, our cars, our jobs…when we are faithful and take that precious moment before we head to our professions for the day and be thankful and gracious, giving hugs and kisses to our loved ones. On May 20 and 21, 2013 all things changed in central Oklahoma. We in Oklahoma live in what is commonly known as Tornado Alley, in the late 26 SportsTurf | September 2013 spring where the cold air coming over the Rocky Mountains clashes with warm moist air out of the Gulf of Mexico. During a stretch of time in May this year, tornadoes were popping up daily. We commonly are the guinea pig for weather as the nation can see where the storms are building and coming from. In a 14-year span, Moore, OK has received two EF5 and one EF3 tornadoes in almost the same path. (see Various other towns in Oklahoma such as Little Axe, Shawnee, El Reno and Yukon have received their fair share of tornados. As a matter in fact, one week after the tornado in Moore, the widest tornado ever recorded, 2.6 miles wide, hit near El Reno, OK. In Oklahoma, the forecasters and meteorologists are right on top of the weather when the atmosphere is unstable. It is a Mecca for storm chasers as they come in droves when things are in alignment. In Norman, the National Weather Service houses its National Storm Center and is very informative to the general public. On May 20, tornadoes skirted the heavily populated areas in central Oklahoma, but did hit some of the rural areas. However, the metro area of Oklahoma City was forewarned that the same scenario was going to happen the next day, May 21, but supposed to be worse and to be prepared. Everyone was told about the time things were going to fire up on Monday. People at the beginning of the day were planning when they were going to take off work and pick kids up before schools were let out. •2:40 pm CDT: A tornado warning was issued that included Moore •2:52 pm: Radar indicates rotation may be reaching the ground near Moore •2:56 pm: First reports of a tornado in progress •3:01 pm: Tornado Emergency issued for Moore •3:36 pm: Tornado "ropes out" and dissipates •3:43 pm: First images of destruction surface •6:07 pm: Damaged areas in comparisons immediately drawn to Joplin, MO tornado of 2011 •7:16 pm: Death toll announced at 37 by Associated Press, via Twitter The tornado was on the ground for some 40 minutes. Eventually it was determined that 24 people perished during the tornado, including seven children. Some of the children were ones that were still at the schools of Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary, which were completely leveled. I personally was on the scene in Moore at about 8:30pm. I went

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