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Oklahoma City-size tornado would level North Platte's core Tell North Platte what you think
Photo by Reuter's News Service
Tornado approaches the suburb of Moore, Okla. on May 20.
Photo by Bulletin graphics
Equivalent size tornado path in North Platte (click to enlarge)
Photo by Bulletin graphics
An equivalent path would be the distance from the airport to Hershey.

If a tornado the size of the Oklahoma City tornado hit North Platte, it would take out an area from Cody Park to Philip Ave.

Thousands of people were homeless as entire neighborhoods demolished in the Oklahoma City surburb of Moore. The vicious tornado was 1.3 miles wide and it wrecked havoc for a stretch of 17 miles.

For comparison, a twister that size would wreck most of North Platte and a good share of Lincoln County if it traveled from, say, the North Platte Regional Airport west to Hershey, a distance of about 17 miles.

It would level an area equivalent to Cody Park to Philip Ave.

Twisting winds exceeded 200 mph in the Oklahoma City tornado. Twenty-four people were killed.

Brick homes were demolished and so was an elementary school Plaza Towers, where at least seven children died, some of them drowned in the basement, according to Reuters News Service.

Water was restored to main lines late Tuesday, but 34,000 customers remained without power.

Three high schools in the school district of Moore still will have graduation ceremonies Saturday. Otherwise, school is out for the summer.

Country singer Toby Keith, who performed in North Platte during Nebraskaland Days last year, said his sister's house was among those hit by the tornado.

"She gets to keep her stuff, but her house is not livable," he said. Keith is thinking of holding a benefit concert.

Coincidentally, Moore was also hit by an EF5 on May 3, 1999. That tornado was on the ground for nearly 90 minutes, covering much the same path, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said.

On that day, a string of 74 tornadoes hit Kansas and Oklahoma, killing a total of 46 people.

This time, damage is expected to exceed the $2 billion in losses in Joplin, Mo, heretofore the most damaging tornado on record. The Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner said losses could amount to a maximum of $6 billion.

Reports of deaths once totaled 91, and were later revised to 51, and finally to 24. There were redundant counts in the first hours, due to chaos, officials said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 5/22/2013
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