‘Hard to believe 2 years later we’re back at a Moore public school,’ Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin surveys tornado damage

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is surveying the damage caused by the tornadoes.

Thursday morning, Gov. Fallin joined Oklahoma Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis and Moore Public Schools Superintendent Robert Romines to talk about the tornado damage in Moore.

"It's hard to believe we're back here at another elementary school here in Moore, Oklahoma in a neighborhood that's been struck by a tornado," Gov. Fallin said.

Fallin, Ashwood and Romines spoke about the damage to a number of school facilities along with the damage at Southgate Elementary School.

"It's hard to believe two years later we are back at a Moore public school surveying damage," Fallin said. "I am very thankful that the school did not receive this damage during school hours."

Fallin says she issued a state of emergency for 25 counties across the state.

The counties included in the governor's declaration are as follows:

  • Caddo County
  • Canadian County
  • Carter County
  • Cleveland County
  • Comanche County
  • Creek County
  • Garvin County
  • Grady County
  • Lincoln County
  • Logan County
  • Love County
  • McClain County
  • Murray County
  • Oklahoma County
  • Osage County
  • Pawnee County
  • Payne County
  • Pontotoc County
  • Rogers County
  • Seminole County
  • Stephens County
  • Tulsa County
  • Wagoner County
  • Washington County
  • Washita County.

This "will allow the state of Oklahoma to be able to begin the process of assessing our damage and looking to see if we qualify for any federal assistance," she said.

Although many residents say they didn't hear the sirens, the mayor of Moore, Glenn Lewis insists they went off before the storm.

"We blew ours right at 6:30, so it was before the storm actually hit," Mayor Lewis said.

Southgate Elementary received substantial damage by the tornado.

"It appears that Southgate-Rippetoe is the building that was hit the hardest," Superintendent Romines said.

Fallin says the Moore Public Schools Superintendent has shifted classroom services to a local church.

Moore Public Schools was closed on Thursday due to the tornado damage.

Gov. Fallin is also expected to survey the damage in Sand Springs, Oklahoma later today.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services says representatives will be on hand to help Oklahomans dealing with emotional damage from the storms.

“This is a perfectly natural response to such a traumatic event,” said ODMHSAS Commissioner Terri White.  “The most important thing is to make sure that you reach out and talk to someone, and we are actively involved in all impacted communities to assist people as needed.”

In Moore, individuals in need of behavioral health support may call 405-703-0368.  Members of the ODMHSAS community response team are also on hand at the Moore Community Center, and are in neighborhoods offering assistance and support.

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