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'Worse Than May 3, 1999'

'Worse Than May 3, 1999'
Reuters

When people in Oklahoma talk about Monday's tornado, they can't help but reference the last, deadly twister. In 1999, a powerful tornado struck, causing upwards of $1 billion in damage.

By all accounts, Monday's disaster was even more devastating. A major hospital, scores of homes, and many businesses were completely demolished by the storm. "If you walk through the neighborhoods, if you go through some of these business areas and certainly when you see the schools, it’s just heaps of debris. You can’t really even tell what was in that particular location," Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said on CBS this morning.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma, which allows the state to access a pool of money for temporary shelter and other relief measures. Officials are scrambling to draw up an aid bill. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe has already said that he will support that measure, even though he voted against Sandy relief efforts, because this bill won't include any pork.

Below, some photos of the level of devastating to give a sense of what kind of recovery effort will be necessary.


Lightning from a tornadic thunderstorm passing over Clearwater, Kansas strikes at an open field.(Gene Blevins /Reuters)


A girl tries to keep warm near the Moore Hospital after being hit tornado that destroyed buildings and overturned cars in Moore, Oklahoma. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)


A sign for a local restaurant lies on the ground after a huge tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. (Richard Rowe/Reuters)


People look at the damage in the parking lot of Moore Hospital after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)

Amanda Erickson is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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