No amount of preparation will help a community avoid severe damage during an event like an EF-5 tornado. The one that hit Moore left a mile-wide path of destruction over a 50-mile long course, causing more than $1 billion in damage. It remains one of the costliest tornados on the books, though it was far surpassed by the monster EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., in May 2011, wiping out a third of that city and causing an estimated $2.8 billion in damage.
In Moore, Kitch says the city, which lost more than 800 homes, spent about six weeks on initial clean up. New homes were up within a year. A study three years later estimated the worst hit areas were 84 percent recovered.
Now, Kitch said, you wouldn’t even know those places had been leveled.
As for the future, he said, “We have tornadoes here in Oklahoma. That’s just a given.” And people have to know what they’re going to do when the next one hits.