All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, May 31st, 2013
Read the transcript from the Friday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
May 31, 2013
Guests: Irwin Redlener, Greg Carbin
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Thank you for joining us.
We have some breaking news tonight out of Oklahoma. A large tornado
is on the ground near El Reno, which is about 36 miles west of Oklahoma
City, which is where it looks like this storm is unfortunately headed right
now. The tornado is reported to be a mild wide in diameter with multiple
vortices. Tornado sirens are sounding in Oklahoma City and buildings are
being evacuated, this less than two weeks since the Moore, Oklahoma
Let`s join the coverage of our affiliate KFOR, in progress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hook is completely wrapping up. It may be a
developing large, violent tornado. So if you can leave south Oklahoma City
and go south, do it right now. It is still west of I-44 but not by very
much. Everybody down here, if you can`t, we encourage you to go below
ground. Storm cellar, safe room or basement, if you know anyone on your
black that has those places, go over there, knock on their door and they
will invite you in.
But do it now, don`t wait. If you wait, it may be too late. The door
may be closed. They might already be in their storm cellar. They won`t
hear you knocking on the door. Go do it now. Do it now.
Don`t it for it to get any closer to you. We have to make the
assumption that this is going to happen because there is a tornado
emergency in effect for all of south Oklahoma City and do that now. Or get
in your car or drive south. Go drive down to at least it central Moore and
get south. Do it right now.
Reed Timmer, dominator 4, are you still here, Reed?
REED TIMMER, STORM CHASER (via telephone): Yes, I`m still here. I`m
looking at the wall cloud right now. I would say, it is probably just west
northwest of Will Rogers Airport, just a mile or two, rapidly rotating. No
ground speculation yet.
But it is a large, large organized wall cloud. Light colored. And
they`re overhead and wrapping around, and heading east to the airport too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power flashes at I-40 in Council. Power flashes
at I-40 and Council. We have the tornado vortex at I-40. I see the
tornado on the ground looking at velocities. It is on I-40 at Council
right now, 100 percent positive, I guarantee it, on the ground right now.
Reed, do you see that? Mark Dillard (ph), are you there.
MARK DILLARD (via telephone): Yes, Mike. I`m here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you?
DILLARD: At Council. I had to come all the way in north of it to try
to get around the damage and power lines out at El Reno and Yukon. Right
now, we are going to try to get down to 66 over and in front of it and
(IANUDIBLE) any definition at all. But I have to tell you, Mike, there`s
plenty of rain, it`s going to be another problem --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. But wait a minute. We don`t want to
talk about that.
All right. South Oklahoma City. Let`s go to the north Doppler.
Tornado emergency, folks, this may be a developing large tornado right now,
I-40 at Council. That`s I-40 and Council power lines. I can see the
tornado vortex, it`s on the ground.
And also, this is all southwest of Oklahoma City here. There`s
Whitewater Bay. There`s State Fair Park right there and it is now at 15th
Street and Reno, on I-40 right now. There are tornado flashes. So, this
is the tornado developing or on the ground and I see a tornado vortex
signature in the wind velocity. It`s now one mile east of Council.
So, we are talking Rockwell and McArthur at 15th Streets south, I-40
and Reno. And even down to 29th Street south, 29th, 15th, Reno, Rockwell
and McArthur Avenues coming out of Council right now.
Tornado emergency moving due east ward. It appears to be op the
Reed Timmer, are you there?
TIMMER: Right now, heading east, approaching Castle Road, three miles
west of Castle Road and northeast (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So -- so folks, you need to be in your safe
store, wherever that is, you know, below ground, storm cellar basement.
Right now, the tornado vortex signature appears to be at Rockwell and South
15th Street. Rockwell and South -- it is on the ground, no doubt about it.
Rockwell and South 15th Street.
It will be traveling very close to I-40 or just a little bit south of
I-40. But, clearly, it is on the ground right now and it is going to be on
15th Street and Rockwell right now, talking about Arlington Drive, Tiffany
Drive, Enterprise Place, Will Rogers Parkway, West River Drive, Sycamore
Avenue, 15th Street, 11th Street, Highland Boulevard, Charter Avenue,
Rockwell -- a bunch of restaurants -- and Meridian Avenue.
Yes, thank you, Steve Johnson, for that. All those restaurants on
Meridian Avenue, on airport road there, at I-40 and Meridian, it`s heading
for those restaurants, all those restaurants at Meridian and I-40 and just
south of there. It`s heading right for those areas right now.
Reed Timmer, are you with us?
TIMMER: Yes, I`m still with you. We are still heading east of 162
west of the airport. It is chaos out here. There are cars going
everywhere. It looks like they are evacuating. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, showing tornado vortex signature now at
Rockwell and 15th, up to I-40. And it appears to have some size to it.
It`s going to be just southwest of Whitewater Bay. It`s going to be
crossing Meridian Avenue here in about a minute and a half two minute at I-
Let`s go to south Doppler and look at it. You can actually see the
tornado, that`s little hole right there. That little hole.
So, this is Rockwell. This is McArthur. This is Meridian. This is
15th Street South. This is Reno. This is I-40.
Whitewater -- say that again -- 85 mile-an-hour winds I-40 and
Rockwell. Power flashes.
Tornado emergency now continues. And U.S. Grant Area southwest in
Tigris up to the Ball Park and downtown, State Fair Park. Everybody is in
the arena below the bleachers at the State Fair Park.
You don`t want to be in your car when this thing is coming in. You
want to be some place way more substantial than your car. Abandon your
car. If you are in your car, abandon it and go somewhere more substantial.
Right now, we`re showing it at McArthur and 15th street South. The
next mile over is meridian. South 15th street. That`s where it is going
the next 60 seconds. Meridian Avenue, I-40, down to South 15th Street.
Reed Timmer -- more power flashes, I-40, at Meridian. OHP estimates
that`s where it is. I still see a tornado vortex on the ground.
Reed, are you with us?
Let`s go to Mark Dillard. Are you there? Mark Dillard, are you
All right. Who do we have here, control room?
Let`s go to Emily. Go, Emily.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, one mile southeast of Union City and we have
this -- can you pan right a little bit. We have been watching this rain
kind of dance and it hasn`t touched down quite yet. But yes, generally
lots of rotation and it could drop down into another tornado right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Emily, that`s an update for Union City storm
out to the West, which also has a tornado warning.
Let`s go to Mark Dillard live. He is tracking this tornado now going
through 15th Street South at Meridian right now. Mark?
DILLARD: Yes, mike. I`m on 66 trying to get ahead of it again. I`m
coming down McArthur. I`m coming to (INAUDIBLE). I`ll tell you right now,
immense amount of rain, wrap-around driving down toward the circulation
area. Basically south of I-40 and over toward I-44, you got get down now.
You got to get out of its way or down.
This is the bottom line. A lot of damage out on Yukon and El Reno
especially. But, Mike, sorry to get ahead of it again. On the wrap-
around, it`s on the north side of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I still see it on the ground. It`s at
Meridian right now. Meridian Avenue on the south side of I-44.
Go, Reed Timmer, are you there?
TIMMER: Yes. Mike, right now, we are on Morgan (ph) Road, heading
east northeast and power is out here. Everything is black. Cars
everywhere. Mass chaos.
And I think I can see what is to be a dark area, the tornado. Looks
very large, wrapped in rain. And we are going to be heading east northeast
to try to get ahead of it.
The power is out here, west of (INAUDIBLE) power is out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Reed, appreciate that.
TIMMER: (INAUDIBLE) you got to be underground. South, it might be
too late. Find a tornado shelter. It is a bad situation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reed, appreciate that very much. It is heading
for Dell City. It is heading for Tinker. It is heading for Midwest City.
It`s crossing I-44 right now. I would say at I-40 and I-44 right now
on the southwest edge of State Fair Park. I would say right to the south
of Mathis Brothers it`s where it is right now. And it`s right in that
immediate Mathis Brothers area. I think the vortex might be on I-40, south
side of I-40, essentially at Mathis Brothers.
Just to the south of Whitewater Bay, over Mathis Brothers right now is
where this tornado vortex is located. I-44 is closed. I-40 is closed.
You have to abandon your car if you are in the path of this tornado that is
HAYES: All right. As you can see, we are following the developing
story right now out of Oklahoma. Just about 30 miles west of Oklahoma
City, there is a large tornado that`s formed, about a mile wide. It is
bearing down on the city of Oklahoma City, moving eastward.
And joining us right now on the phone from Oklahoma City is NBC`s Jay
Jay, what is the situation there?
JAY GRAY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, I don`t know
if you can hear it, but the sirens are going off and they have been every
two minutes here. It turned pitch black in the matter of minutes in the
downtown area. And a huge, huge wall of cloud with circulation that we can
see right now is hovering just outside the city and the worst of it is
still moving in as you heard and everyone has been talking about here.
The streets virtually empty, emergency vehicles out there. We have
seen people running into the convention center to get to down to an
underground shelter there. A lot of the buildings evacuated here. That
started earlier in the afternoon when the forecast looked promising for
some severe storms.
A lot of businesses let their employees leave early to get home to
their families to make sure they are safe. I can tell you, just looking
down right now, I can see a line of trees in the downtown area that have
already been pushed over. And the wind is picking up. It`s beginning to
pull down here.
HAYES: Is it too dark to be able to make out or is the tornado too
far for you to make out or is it just a pitch black cloud hang over the
city right now?
GRAY: It is that. I don`t think we are in a position to see the
funnel but I do think it still probably 30 miles away or so. So, it would
be very difficult to make out, especially with the -- since it`s been rain-
wrapped most of the time. So, it`s wrapped in rain and hail and that`s
beginning to move this way. We are starting to get some of that rain here
and the lightening picking up as well.
HAYES: Once again, Oklahoma City today is more or less evacuated.
Sirens going off.
It sounds like there has been enough time hopefully that folks have
been able to get into safe places, into underground shelters, out of the
way. Presumably, you mention the convention center. There are places who
don`t have a place to go can go under these circumstances, is that true?
GRAY: Especially down here in the downtown area. Several spots that
are safe spots where people can gather, that can hold a large number of
people. So there are plenty of places to evacuate to but the time for
people who stayed downtown is running outs. And every making that clear.
Again, I`m just looking at the area down here. And I don`t see
anyone. I can tell you when the first sirens went off. And that was 30 to
45 minutes ago. We could see people physically running to get to the
shelter areas. You could hear people saying, it`s time to get in, it`s
time to get inside. So, they begun to do that.
I should point out that we are definitely seeing a bit of rotation in
this cloud right now and we are getting that pull -- the pull from the wind
-- that you feel as the system moves in. I don`t see a funnel on the
ground, but I do see this cloud really stretched out and reaching toward
the ground. So, I don`t know if we`re to the point where we see that yet
but it appears to be on its way.
HAYES: Jay, we should note, since it`s fresh in everyone`s mind, the
horrible disaster in Moore right by Oklahoma City. It is a different time
of day than that tornado hit. It was anomalous that that tornado hit
during the day. Much earlier than when tornadoes form, which is much more
around this time.
So that means there is more lead time for folks to get out of the way,
A. And, B, schools are out of session right now.
GRAY: Yes. No, you make great points there. And, you know, a lot of
people have said at the time of the Moore tornado, when it rushed through
the neighborhoods and really just ravaged that entire community, that the
timing was actually good thing without regard, obviously, to the tragic
deaths at the school. But that a lot of people weren`t home. They were at
work and not in their houses at the time.
This one, much later, you`re absolutely right, and giving people some
lead time, some preparation time. We`re in an area that obviously
understands tornadoes, they understand the dangers involved with those
tornados, and, boy, we just saw the lights go down in a section of downtown
Oklahoma City. So, a transformer apparently hit.
It`s an area that knows tornadoes but not tornadoes to the magnitude
that they`re dealing with either in Moore or what appears to be happening
here now. You know, a lot of these tornadoes will strike and they will
strike in areas that are pasture land, that are farmland, and, thankfully,
not affect any families. Not the case quite op obviously with the
situation in Moore and not the case this evening as it moves dangerously
close now to Oklahoma City.
And again, we are just seeing clouds continue to drop closer to the
ground here in the downtown area. Not a good sign.
HAYES: That`s NBC`s -- NBC`s Jay Gray watching live as a tornado
bears down on Oklahoma City. It is rather large, we are told, a mile wide,
with multiple vortices, which means there are multiple possible twisters
within that cluster. It is heading eastward towards the city of Oklahoma.
This is just fresh off the disaster in Moore, Oklahoma, that everyone
has been mourning for the last two weeks. We will continue to follow this.
The streets of Oklahoma City, as you heard from Jay Gray from been
empty. Sirens have been going out. Local weather men and news stations
have been urging people to get out of the waist storm or to seek shelter
under ground. We are crossing our fingers that folks have been able to
follow that advice.
We are going to continue to monitor this. We have a correspondent who
is right now underground the airport, which has also been evacuated. We`ve
had a hard time getting a phone connection to her. So, we will continue to
monitor that. You see that on your screen here.
It just so happens this evening, we were set to discuss natural
disasters. We were set to discuss natural disasters because the National
Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicted this would be one of the worst
hurricane seasons seen in a long time. In fact, tonight at midnight,
begins hurricane season and all of us have disaster at the front of the
mind sitting here watching the Moore story unfold. And then today,
watching the weather map, the one you see right there on your screen as the
folks in Oklahoma City and surrounding areas listen to the sirens, warning
them to seek shelter under ground.
And joining me at the table now, a gentleman we had booked to discuss
hurricane seasons, the warnings from NOAA, and everything like that, is Dr.
Irwin Redlener, who has written a book called "Americas at Risk: Why We Are
Not Prepared From Mega disasters and What We Can Do Now."
It is perversely fortuitous. I really genuinely hope the folks in
Oklahoma City are going to be spared in any destruction. It`s still
possible that that tornado there avoids major population areas.
Irwin, let`s talk about tornadoes for a second before we get to
hurricanes or any kinds of other disasters, since that`s what`s in front of
mind right now as we watch this system move towards the Oklahoma City area.
A few weeks ago, we were covering Moore. We had a man named Paul
Douglas, meteorologist, weather guy, and he was talking about -- he made
this point that all of us kept thinking about afterwards.
He said, you know, it`s not that we`re getting more tornadoes. It is
not a climate change effect the way that hurricanes probably are, but what
it is, is we are moving, we are developing out into spreading out into
areas, through suburban sprawl, into areas that are more vulnerable, places
that were tornado touch down, right along farm land, or empty land and then
disappear and no one would be the wiser, are now places where people have
How much -- how smart are we right now about where we`re developing in
regards to things like tornadoes and disasters?
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, AUTHOR, "AMERICANS AT RISK": Well, first of all,
thanks for having me, Chris. So the thing is, that we are, almost all of
us, live in some kind of potential hazard risk. It`s like 90 million
Americans who live over actively seismic areas where an earthquake is
possible. Lots and lots of people and more people living on the coast that
are vulnerable to hurricanes.
And we also have exactly what you`re describing, which is lots of
people living in suburban areas now, or even in cities that happen to be
right down what they call tornado alley. Now that would be, maybe OK. But
we`re not also very smart about it, because we have the situation in Moore
for instance, where only unbelievably a small number of people have
appropriate storm cellars.
What is worse is that we saw schools that incredulously actually have
no safe place for the children who were going to school there. That was
kind of unconscionable.
So, we recognize the fact that our population is growing. That there
is climate change, that our infrastructure is fragile. But we`re not even
taking smart measures that would keep people as safe as we possibly can.
HAYES: So, one of the things, before we get to that, because I want
to stay with our eyes towards this storm right now is the warning system.
And one of the things that has been remarkable to watch both in the case of
Moore and right now, as we were checking in in our local coverage of KFOR,
is relatively sophisticated and advanced ways in which citizens in tornado
alley can get text updates, hear sirens. It seems like the infrastructure,
governmental agencies we have and scientists in place to warn are actually
doing a pretty amazing job of staying on top of that stuff.
REDLENER: Well, the technology is definitely getting better. But
even with good warning, you still may have only 15 to 20 minutes. There
maybe conditions changing in conditions of the sky, also some other weather
conditions that can be monitored very carefully and scientifically.
But at the end of the day and, of course, it depends on how fast the
tornado is moving. They can move 30 miles an hour or up to 70 miles an
hour. So the whole issue of timing and warning makes us, no matter how
sophisticated we get with the technology, needing to make sure that we have
very safe places to get to immediately. You don`t have time to wait or
think about it.
HAYES: And whose job is it? It sounds like there are some large
public centers. It sounds like a convention center when we were just on
the phone with Jay Gray, saying folks downtown and downtown Oklahoma City
who didn`t have a place to go, to go to the convention center.
Whose job is it to figure that out?
REDLENER: Well, it`s -- let`s think of it this way. If we actually
lived in areas like that, there is multiple areas of responsibility. First
of all, government should have regulations out there that require
dwellings, you know, homes, congregate centers, schools, and so forth to
have safe places for people who might be there. There also needs to be
public places like we`re just talking about.
But at the end of the day, it`s also citizens have a great
responsibility here as well. If you live with a family, and kids, and your
house is built on a slab with no basement, you need to find some way to
build an underground shelter so that if you are in harm`s way, you can get
out of the way.
HAYES: But the issue there and the issue we saw in Moore, given the
quality of the foundation rock there, and given people`s fairly limited
means sometimes, that that is cost prohibitive, right? That was the issue
in Moore. We talked to a number of people who said that.
REDLENER: Well, the cost prohibitive issue is certainly true with an
individual homeowner, right? On the other hand, the quality of the rock
and the bedrock and so forth, it`s not an issue. There are ways of dealing
But what is more concerning are public spaces. So, let`s take the
public schools for which is absolutely no excuse not to have a safe place
for every single child and teacher and staff to go down to if a tornado is
HAYES: Once again, if you`re just joining us right now, we have a
developing situation in Oklahoma, about 30 miles west of Oklahoma City.
There is a large tornado bearing down on that city with multiple vortices
form. It is one mile in diameter at this moment.
You can see some live shots right there as dusk is falling in Oklahoma
City. We talked to Jay Gray, NBC News correspondent who is in downtown
Oklahoma City who describes the scene as ghost town with whirring sirens in
the background, streets empty, cars vacated. Folks have gone to get out of
the path of the storm or who have gone down into underground shelters.
Folks with nowhere to go are congregating in public shelters, places
beneath the convention center in downtown Oklahoma City.
The weather reports and live news coming out of Oklahoma City, our
meteorologists are warning citizens in the path of the storm to get out of
the way or to seek shelter. It is moving very quickly. And we are going
to continue to monitor the pathway of this storm.
We`re going to check in with KFOR, our affiliate in Oklahoma City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s in south Oklahoma City now. I think it`s
down around south 36th.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I`d say it`s south of I-40. I`ve got
wrapping from a target section, Mike. You can see the darkest section back
off to the south and east -- or excuse me, south and west.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll tell you where I think it is. I think near
Southwest Integris right now, Southwest Integris is where I think it is
right now. And I can tell you, the circulation is quite large here. I
don`t know how large the tornado circulation could be. But the velocity
signature is quite large and it`s over Southwest Integris right now.
So, it`s definitely, definitely south of the ballpark. South of the
Devon Tower. It`s down around South 36th and Santa Fe and Western. Santa
Fe, Western, South 33rd, South 36th, South 44th. St. Mary`s, U.S. Grant.
St. Mary`s, U.S. Grant, all the way down heading possibly for
Do we have Chase Tomlinson, by the way? We will try to get Chase
Tomlinson here. He is in Oklahoma City. Well see if we can get him and
talk to him.
Say that again. Meg, what do you have here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are following power outages, 22,000 people in
the metro without power. Most of them are in Yukon. But that`s a lot of
people without power. We are looking at this right now. We believe there
will be more as those reports do come in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting reports also from downtown Oklahoma City,
the historic district down there without power. Not getting any damage
reports from south Oklahoma City.
As you heard earlier, there are damage reports west of the metro when
the storm came through, in fact on the highway, one of the highways, near
81, where a lot of the storm chasers were. There were flipped cars. We
are told the Weather Channel was involved in some of that wreckage.
Emily Sutton checking all of that for pups but it`s been quite an
evening for us once again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emily, way too close for comfort on that if you
saw her video from earlier when she was streaming video earlier, and she
said there was a car in front of her that she was worried about. We do
know Weather Channel vehicle was flipped and totaled. I believe the crew
is OK, though.
This is serious stuff. There is no doubt. Also traffic, we`re having
some traffic problems out there people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to go to Mike real quick -- Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go to Chase Tomlinson here. Chase is in
South Oklahoma City.
Chase, what do you have?
CHASE TOMLINSON (via telephone): We`re near the (INAUDIBLE) on
Southwest, 104th Street. We had to get around some traffic because there
is hundreds and hundreds of cars all over the road. We are getting slammed
with some winds now, at least 60 to 70 mile-an-hour winds, probably RFD
winds on the south side of the possible tornado.
It is definitely rain-wrapped. We are encountering heavy, heavy rain.
And we`re trying to check out, it is probably a few miles towards my east
and I will let you know what I see as we continue to get closer -- Mike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s definitely turning southeastward towards
Crossroads Mall. It`s heading down toward Crossroads Mall now.
Let`s go to Mark Dillard now. Mark?
DILLARD: Yes, Mike, I`m coming up the 29th and Central now. It`s
obviously turning right on us here from the I-40 corridor going south. The
darkest part of the circulation area, it`s due my south, it`s going to be
coming -- exactly as you said, it`s going to be coming hard right to the
Crossroads Mall area.
Everybody on the north side of Moore now, over to Midwest City, on the
south side of the state, has to take cover on this deal. I got wrapping
curtains on the most dark section of what I can tell on the ground,
circulation is going to be south of me. I`m coming up the 29th and I-35 in
just about 10 minutes. But it`s going to be south of me, in the Crossroads
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it`s on the ground down by Mt. St. Mary`s,
and it`s traveling down toward Crossroads. So, it`s down at 240. It`s
down at 240. It`s turned hard right. It really dropped straight south.
It`s dropped straight south. It`s 29th and Blackwell is the last
confirmation of it we have over the ground.
It has turned -- it dropped straight south ward. It came up to just
west of downtown and it dropped straight southward, and that`s where it is
right now. I would say it`s all the down now to about South 44th and even
all the way down to 240, 240 and Western, 240 and Santa Fe. Mount St.
Mary`s there, Crossroads Mall., even north -- even north Moore. North
Moore, for sure, heading your way.
So, we continue to get confirmation on the ground. The last
confirmation we had of a visible sighting was 29th and Black Welder. But
it`s turning hard to the right and it actually moves straight south, I
would say it is on the ground now at 240 and Western, 240 and Western.
It`s going to travel north Moore, Crossroads Mall. It`s going to go into
the north Moore if it doesn`t, if it keeps turning the direction it`s going
Mark Dillard, were you there?
DILLARD: Yes, Mike, I`m on I-35, southbound, passing 36. I will come
up to 44. (INAUDIBLE) I don`t know if you got it or not. It`s just right
in front of me with. I haven`t seen powder flash yet, Mike. But it`s the
darkest of the --
HAYES: Let`s go to Greg Carbin now with the NOAA Storm Prediction
Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
Greg, what are you guys seeing and where is this tornado headed?
GREG CARBIN, NOAA STORM PREDICTION CENTER: Well, what we`ve been
watching for the last two hours is a massive thunderstorm complex really
that moved very little. And these tornadoes are essentially forming on the
southern edge on the thunderstorm complex, right along the I-40 corridor
leading into Oklahoma City area. They continue to form and move gradually
east and south.
We are seeing extreme rainfall, as well as extreme winds associated
with these occasional tornadoes that are developing. Still very difficult
to see because of the rain falls occurring within the Oklahoma City area.
Hopefully, it won`t be as bad as it looks right now. But we have seen and
heard numerous reports of tornadoes over the last hour or two.
HAYES: Greg, can I ask you this. The storm system spinning these
tornadoes out, how long do you predict it`ll hold and continue to generate
these tornadoes out threatening the Oklahoma City area?
CARBIN: Like I said, we`ve been watching it complex on radar for the
last two hours. It`s incredibly well-organized and almost steady state in
terms of its location. Probably, we`ve got at least another hour of
extreme weather in the Oklahoma City area. And hopefully after that things
will begin to decay. As you good through night time hours, the air mass
will begin to stabilize somewhat, tend to limit the potential of tornadoes
threats as we go into the night time.
There`s still a big threat though in the Oklahoma City metro from
flooding rains and that flooding rain condition will continue to cross
Tulsa even into Missouri as we go into tomorrow.
CHRIS HAYES: We are hearing 20 thousand people without power in metro
Oklahoma City right now. Of course, there are tornadoes working their way
through the area coming out of a large storm complex that has been sitting
as you just heard fairly fix generating these twisters. Joining us on the
phone again from Oklahoma City with the latest is NBC`s Jay Gray.
JAY GRAY, NBC (via telephone): OK, what`s that?
HAYES: Jay, are you still in downtown Oklahoma City?
GRAY: I am in downtown Oklahoma City. I don`t know if you can hear
the wind, but it`s swirling pretty good down here. The rain has picked up
dramatically. We are continuing to see lightning at times and heavy
thunder at times as well. But again, conditions have been growing
continuously worse and seemingly at a much more rapid pace. No one out
obviously in this downtown area, I`m taking a look outside of one of the
shelters. Just absolutely no one here right now. Again, this wind is
picking up and beginning to drag pretty severely across the downtown area.
HAYES: Jay, at this point I would imagine, as you said before, there
is no one out. We can assume hopefully that the amount of time these
storms have taken to generate and the amount of press coverage in the local
area, the sirens, all of that is contributing to folks really getting out
of the way as much as possible.
GRAY: Yes, that`s the good news like we talked earlier, people who
understand just how serious this can be. As I walked through and I saw
several banners and there`s a lot of furniture, some outdoor furniture
that`s obviously been kicked up and thrown to places it`s not supposed to
be. Bunting is not down in some of the buildings.
Yes, it looks like most people took heed of the advice, to get to a
safe place or just out of area. A lot of the forecasters here locally were
telling people, look, if you say get under ground, just leave, go somewhere
else. I think that`s what we will see. I will get out of the wind.
HAYES: We heard many local area businesses let their workers go early
today so they could do just that and get out of area. Get out of the path
of the storm. Do we have any sense of the number of people that are in
public underground shelters?
GRAY: I can tell you from that in two shelters in the downtown area
here I`ve seen hundreds, if not more than a thousand. So there were
several sporting events that were scheduled in the downtown area this
evening. Hockey and baseball teams both had games -- and sirens going off
here again now. So there were a lot of people that had plans to start the
weekend in the downtown area. Hopefully lot of them decided against coming
down as they saw happening with the forecast.
HAYES: We just talked to Greg Carbon earlier at the NOAA Storm Watch
Center. His word was that they`ve been monitoring this storm system for
about two hours. It`s been relatively fixed, sitting where it is, spinning
its occasional tornadoes off in a direction towards where you are. His
sense was it was going to hold for at least another hour. So it sounds
like the folks of Oklahoma City are in for a little bit more at least of
Right now, we don`t have any live reports of where specific twisters
are. We do know this storm system is bringing incredibly heavy rain and
wind down across the entire area. We know power is out. I`m sorry we`re
now going to Curt Gourtney who is on the ground in Oklahoma City. And
Curt, where are you right now?
CURT GOURTNEY (via telephone): I`m in downtown Oklahoma City.
Actually I`ve just taken shelter with my family in the lower level of the
condo just north of Interstate 40 in downtown Oklahoma City where we live.
HAYES: Taking shelter? What precipitated you going down there?
GOURTNEY: Well, there`s storm developed to the west of Oklahoma City
and we started watching it out there and it spawned a tornado and it has
remained tornadic even a tornado hasn`t on the ground the entire time. I
can tell you the winds have gotten so strong where we are in downtown
Oklahoma City that I could no longer peek outside without the wind pulling.
So we decided to get step in and stay safe.
HAYES: Do most of the folks around there have either a safe interior
of their structure or a shelter that they get down into?
GOURTNEY: Well, I don`t know what numbers would be. Most Oklahomans
do know where to go where they live. That is the safest place. Now of
course, as we saw on Moore depending on the strength of the storm, it
depends on how safe you are. If you are hit by an EF-5 with 200 plus mile-
an-hour winds, you need to be underground or very well designed safe room
to remain safe. A sturdy structure will withstand most tornadoes as long
as you are away from windows, in a central room, of a lower level of where
HAYES: Curt, I got to say watching the last few weeks unfold in
tornado alley. It has been obviously heart wrenching and upsetting for
people around the country watching the devastation from a tornado that hit
Moore. Is it the case that this is a particularly very veer tornado season
that you guys are going through? Is this what this time of year actually
usually feels like?
GOURTNEY: Well, actually up until the Moore tornado we had had a very
quiet tornado season in Central Oklahoma. You learn living here that
tornadoes can happen 12 months out of the year. They can happen anytime.
Certainly this time of year in May is when we typically have the most
intense storms and we also see periods like this, where we had -- you know,
last week, we had several days in a row with severe storms possible
And the same thing here, forecasters at National Weather Service,
forecast office and Storm Prediction Center had told us earlier this
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you need to be prepared for storms. Wednesday
and Thursday, we had severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes, but nothing
terribly significant. Today of course, that`s different.
HAYES: Curt Gourtney, KGOU FM public radio reporter in Oklahoma City
right now. Thank you so much, Curt. We`ll check back with you later.
GOURTNEY: You`re welcome.
HAYES: I`m here in New York City, as we monitor and watching a power
storm system that is spawning tornadoes headed towards Oklahoma City. Many
businesses have evacuated. Folks have sought shelter underground. Many
have simply fled the area as they were directed to do by local officials
and meteorologists who have been this storm.
We just checked in with a man by the name of Greg Carbon who told us
they have been tracking the storm system for two hours on radar as it sat
just west of Oklahoma City and spawned a number of individual twisters,
multiple vortices, heading out south and east towards Oklahoma City. Of
course, near the area of Moore, which was just so hard hit just two weeks
ago with the one of the most power tornadoes ever in recorded in human
This storm system from what we can tell is quite powerful. It has
much of the conditions necessary to spawn powerful tornadoes, sitting there
just west of Oklahoma City, casting a dark pall over the entire area.
NBC`s Jay Gray just talked to us from downtown Oklahoma City. He describes
the scenes of ghost empty streets and darkness, and tornado sirens as folks
have fled the area and gone downstairs seeking shelter in some public
buildings as well.
We are going to continue to keep our eyes on the tornado. A tornado
emergency has been declared for all of Metro Oklahoma City. Folks who are
there are being directed to get out of the area. Local news is telling
them to the street level where tornadoes may be brewing and where they may
We have here (inaudible) expert on disaster and disaster preparedness.
One of the things we were hearing earlier today was some of the roads to
get out of Oklahoma City were just parking lots full of traffic. I
remember in the wake of Katrina and Irene, there was a lot talk about
getting people out of way of a disaster and the arterial roads and the ways
out were just not sufficient to deal with the level of traffic of getting
We heard earlier reports from KFOR, people sitting in essentially
parking lot, bumper to bumper traffic on road that may or may not be in the
path of a tornado. Are we good at figuring out how to get people out of
areas, evacuating folks?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, one of the biggest unmet challenges of
disaster planning is how to deal with traffic that has to transport people
out of an area that may be in harm`s way. This is true when we lock at
disaster plans for nuclear power plant meltdowns, tornadoes, hurricanes and
so forth. We don`t really have the systems in place to allow for a
predictably safe and efficient evacuation from almost any of our major
metropolitan areas. In fact some rural areas which might seem like they
are not that populated, the roads become absolutely stand still parking
lots because lots of people are trying to get through limited highway
HAYES: And this is part of the problem for preparing for disasters.
Bring it back to tornadoes here. We just spoke with Curt Gourtney who is a
local public radio reporter. He was making a point as he seeks shelter in
the interior structure where he lives in Oklahoma City. That when you are
talking about tornadoes, for most tornadoes, you are going to be safe
without even having to go into an underground shelter if you have a
sufficiently structurally sound interior room.
For one in a thousand tornadoes or one in a centuries tornadoes like
an EF-5, like the one that hit Moore that`s not going to be good enough and
that`s the tragedy that we saw result from the size of that tornado. The
question is, how do you plan in a smart way for those kinds of tail risk
possibilities, the big, big, big tornadoes, the big storm, the big
hurricane that will jam everything up in a kind of historically
unprecedented way or do you just throw up your hands and hope that that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let me just add to your equation of
confusion here, which is that we also don`t have much money available so
it`s said. We don`t have enough discretionary money to do everything for
everybody in every place. So if we are going to be planning for the very
rare tornado that may not happen for a long time although it might we`re
going to have to make decisions, which we don`t intend to do in an
intelligent way very much anymore, but yes, these are priorities that have
to be decided. It`s like how high up if you live on the coast, you have to
build your house to prevent you from getting storm surge so same kind of
HAYES: Dylan Dryer, MSNBC meteorologist is here with us now. Dylan,
can you give us the latest?
DYLAN DRYER, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, Chris, we are watching these
storms and these tornado warnings pop up. We have tornado emergencies in
effect across parts of Oklahoma City. And right now, the tornadoes that
you can see in the boxes that pop up at the end of that radar look, they
are overlapping, unfortunately right over the Moore area you can see as the
storm now is moving southeast at about 25 to 30 miles per hour.
Not only are we just dealing with the torrential downpours and the
tornado force winds, but we also have straight line winds, which the
different is, you know, instead of those rotating winds that come at you
from the east and as it moves by from the west, these are just direct line
winds at about 90 miles per hour right now. Those are enough to create
serious damage and those are embedded within the bigger tornado and the
bigger storm system itself.
We are also getting reports of golf ball-sized hail with that second
storm that`s just to the south. You could see that first tornado warning
has now expired, but the second one just south of that, we at times have
reports of softball sized hail. So not only are we seeing wind damage,
torrentially down pours, but then, I mean, imagine softball-sized hail
coming from these storms.
They are moving southeast right now so it has taken that turn instead
of moving due east, but unfortunately, Moore is in the path and it is right
under that tornado warning. It`s in effect until 8:00 Central Time so 9:00
Eastern Time. Unfortunately, the trackers and chasers are on the ground
just kind of watching these storms.
I heard one of them say earlier, before they started talking, which
direction is the storm moving? Because the direction is constantly
changing and they are kind of following and trying to stay around the
direction it is moving towards. So you know, they are really unsure until
you kind of get the look from the radar and see where it`s headed. But
right now, it is moving southeast, south of Oklahoma City.
HAYES: Dylan, just talk me through this for a second just to make
sure I understand this. There is a large storm system. That storm system
comes with it the dark clouds, the hail, the rain and it sounds like the
system itself wherever it is, is now production winds up to 90 miles an
hour distinct from specific twisting vortexes of tornadoes that might be
DRYER: You know, it sounds as confusing as all the words you just
said. I mean, you have this multi-vortex tornado. I mean, you see
sometimes those rope tornadoes. They come down from the cloud. They zip
around. They do their damage and then they go back up. But then you have
these larger storms, these funnel clouds, these wedges that come down from
the clouds and within those are all these little rope tornadoes and all
these, you know, sometimes mile-wide tornadoes that spawn off.
So that`s why this is such a huge storm, it shows the energy of the
storm when you are talking about those multiple vortices that are spinning.
That`s what trackers are trying to spot. You know, they are very hard to
see. They are wrapped in rain. Now as it gets into a more populated area,
it is wrapped in debris. They are very hard to pinpoint. So you kind of
use the combination of the radar and then the spotters on the ground.
HAYES: When we talked to Greg Carbon at the Storm Watch Center in
Oklahoma, the NOAA Storm Watch Center, he was saying they are looking at
the system and it`s kind of been sitting there for a while. Do we have a
sense of how quickly it`s moving? What is the end game here? At what
point do the folks in that battered, battered region who are still
rebuilding from the trauma and horror of two weeks ago. At what point can
they peek their head back outside and breathe a sigh of relief.
DRYER: Well, unfortunately, wait until these tornado warnings get
lifted. I mean, they are under a PDS tornado watch meaning potentially
dangerous situation. Not just a regular tornado watch. Then you watch the
warnings. You know, Moore was under a warning. Oklahoma City was under
the warning that actually expired at 7:45.
Then the next one was just extended until 8:00 Central Time. So you
know some of these get let go, but then another one redevelops and the
whole storm system, the huge cloud as you described it is still spawning
off these tornadoes. So it is where they drop down where these tornado
warnings are issued. So it is moving southeast at 30 miles per hour, but
that`s just one particular storm. The whole big cloud that`s producing all
of this severe weather is not moving as fast. Hope that makes sense.
HAYES: That does make sense. Dylan Dryer, thank you very much. We
will be checking in with you. Dylan Dryer is letting us know the latest on
the massive tornado emergency that is now hanging over the Oklahoma City
metro region. Folks have been evacuated. Tornado sirens have been going
off since the afternoon.
We have seen the downtown evacuated folks seeking shelter. There is a
massive system with winds up to 90 miles an hour. Softball-sized hail and
a series of multiple vortices of tornado spinning off, moving south
easterly and threatening the same area, that of course was the sight of
such devastation two weeks ago.
Joining us now is Melissa Rehberger. She spent some time in Oklahoma,
was there for the last big huge tornado before this one that hit Moore.
Melissa, what are folks doing when they are under these kind of warnings.
MELISSA REHBERGER: Well, hopefully they are hiding. We are talking
about the most populated areas in the state of Oklahoma right now. I was
texting back and forth with my friend who is the mayor of Oklahoma City.
He shot me back a very short text saying, can`t talk. So I think they are
trying to organize people into the best shelters they have available.
Oklahoma City is a very formidable city, very strongly built buildings
designed to withstand things like this. Hopefully people are safe and
underground here. People who live in the suburban areas, we were just
mentioning Moore. I can`t believe it is going right back there again.
Hopefully they have plenty of warning and will seek shelter. They
need to have more shelters available to them obviously because the last we
saw, the people who were able to stay under ground is those who survived.
The good news in all of this, in Oklahoma City, it`s really a place
where people work and go home. Not a lot of people live in Oklahoma City
downtown area so hopefully that`s relatively deserted and the people who
stay behind hopefully have a place to go that is underground.
HAYES: That`s Melissa Rehberger. Thank you, Melissa. We will check
back with you later. We are hearing some reports of some of the twisters,
the tornadoes coming off of this giant system actually hitting traffic jams
that are right now occupying roads as folks try to get out of way of the
twisters. We will dip back into our affiliate KFOR, which is of course
tracking the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where you can listen to the weather and seek
shelter. We are asking folks to do that right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. Betsy Randolph with the OHP, thank
you very much. We will come back to you for more reports later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the latest. Things really have not
changed. There`s still a tornado on the ground near the old GM plant right
now. I guarantee it. No doubt about it. That is heading over toward the
northern sides of Lake Draper. That is Midwest Boulevard and 240 right
now. It went through parts of Dell City, Cross Roads Mall, 240, it`s still
on the ground.
We have -- how big is that tree? A foot diameter tree snapped at
104th Southwest and Western. That`s Oklahoma City address. For simplicity
it`s far, far west Moore, but it`s an Oklahoma City address. There a still
a circulation right there. Tornado warning for Norman -- say that again,
this one here likely still on the ground.
Likely on the ground of Newcastle then there`s another one out here to
the west of Union City that also likely still has a tornado on the ground.
And it is a large circulation out on the western side of Union City. And
you see that curly cue there near Tuttle as well.
That is the one Emily had a weak tornado with. I would say that
there`s a little weak tornado also near Tuttle. And Cogar area is a strong
circulation center there as well so you`ve got one, two, three and four.
All four are dangerous and have tornado warnings with them. You can
clearly see the hook by the GM plant. Go, Mark.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a wind shift going south and east to
almost due east now. It comes up to the Tinker exit 240 near the GM plant.
Just past the heart hospital as well so now going from west to east towards
circulation straight down the road so it`s almost parked on 240 maybe
wobbling back to the north a little bit --
HAYES: On the phone again from Oklahoma City, latest from Jay Gray
who is in Oklahoma City. Jay, we checked in with you at the beginning of
the hour. Darkness fell over the city. What is happening now?
GRAY: Just much darker. Heavy rain intensified. Hail mixed in at
this point. It is completely black now. That`s one of the problems that
we will face at this point and the storm is that it is very difficult to
see if there`s any kind of circulation. Any funnel on the ground because
of the rain and darkness. What I can tell you and you have been hearing
this, there continues to be reports of multiple-vortex on the ground.
Unfortunately, it looks like it is heading towards the Moore area. That is
just horrible to imagine right now.
HAYES: This is an obvious question, and I think I know the answer,
but there is no way visually for the folks in that area right now to have
any visual sense of whether a twister is headed towards them at this point?
GRAY: Not at all. And I think we were on the phone when some of the
power went out downtown. It is just complete darkness here and only lit
occasionally by the lightning that sparks at times, but not nearly long
enough it make anything out.
HAYES: There is power out in downtown Oklahoma City right now.
GRAY: Absolutely, absolutely. The last report I heard, and this is
very early in the game, but 27,000 without power, just initially. I would
not be surprise if that number grows significantly.
HAYES: We just heard from Dylan that the winds, even when they are
not in the actual vortex, can you see the wind right now? Feel the wind
GRAY: No question about that. It`s already causing very minor
damage, but damage downtown, trees have been uprooted here. Parts of
buildings ripped away. I`m talking about a little awning or just lit by a
pretty big piece of hail here, awnings and outdoor furniture. Things that
you would expect that be thrown around by extreme winds. Conditions are
deteriorated pretty quickly right now with heavy rain pushed by the wind.
At times a swirling wind and it is still pulling and again, it is not good.
HAYES: Jay, are you outside right now?
GRAY: Just stepped back inside. I made a check on the area here
where people had bunkered down and some of those people make their way out
it take a look around but not too far. Yes, wind is very severe and it is
a driving rain right now.
HAYES: NBC`s Jay Gray right now in downtown Oklahoma City. Say they
underneath storm clouds at this very moment, severe tornado warning in
effect for the metro area. Local affiliate KFOR, report of tornado on the
ground in Moore, Oklahoma, Moore, Oklahoma, of course. The site of one of
the worst tornadoes in recorded history just two weeks ago.
The folks in that area have been receiving warning since mid afternoon
at least a very severe threat of these tornadoes. Many employers have
allowed their workers to go home. Officials have been sounding the
warning. Local news has been sounding the warning. There are tornado
sirens. Folks asked to get out of the way of the storms to seek shelter.
We heard from NBC`s Jay Gray that as many of a thousand by his eye
ball estimate sought shelter in some shelters in downtown Oklahoma City.
Sports events have been cancelled. Of course this system sitting over the
metro area, bringing hail and heavy rain and winds, gusting up to 90 miles
an hour is spinning offer individual tornadoes.
Local storm chasers, trackers and meteorologists, are tracking so they
can let folks know. As darkness descended in Oklahoma City to let folks
know where the exact path using technology and radar where the exact path
of those are going. We have Dylan Dreyer, MSNBC meteorologist here with us
to give us the latest updates. Can we track where the tornado on the
ground outside of Moore or in Moore is?
DRYER: They were saying it`s in southwest Moore and it`s one of the
stronger tornadoes that we are seeing and we do have several tornado
warnings in and around Oklahoma City and Moore area as well. Right now,
they are saying there are four confirmed tornadoes. Some are weaker than
others in a town called Tuttle, near Bridge Creek, which is to the west.
It`s a weak tornado, but the one in southwest Moore is actually one of the
stronger of the four tornadoes that they do have confirmed on the ground.
These tornadoes aren`t really staying on the ground for long period of
time or at left not all of them are. They drop down and they pop back up.
That`s why storm chasers are so significant in chasing the tornadoes.
Because they get good picture of what is going on in the ground. The
problem we are running into is the fact it is getting darker.
You don`t have the eyesight to see the storms. You can`t just shine a
flash flight on a tornado and see where it is going. We are relying more
on the technology, which doesn`t give you as good of a picture as when you
just see it on the ground. There are four tornadoes on the ground up near
Tulsa so Oklahoma right now, predicted that this area would be in a
potentially dangerous situation, under this tornado watch.
That`s how they described it from the National Weather Service in
Norman, Oklahoma. And that is exactly what we are seeing centered right in
Central Oklahoma, but in southwest Moore, Oklahoma right now is where one
of those confirmed tornado is and you know, you just have to keep watching.
And seeing where the tornado warnings pop up.
HAYES: Thank you, Dylan. We now have Sergeant Jeremy Lewis from the
Moore Police Department in Moore, Oklahoma where we have confirmed reports
from a tornado touched down there. Sergeant, can you confirm there`s a
tornado touching down there and what is the status of folks in Moore?
SGT. JEREMY LEWIS, MOORE POLICE DEPARTMENT (via telephone): We have
multiple tornadoes reported at different areas of the city. One is over I-
35 and 19th Street. We are trying to get east right now to get away from
this. We have past several power poles that are down east of where the
tornado is supposed to be. We are actually running from it right now.
HAYES: Sergeant, can you get a sense of how, do you have any sense of
whether folks were able to get out, folks obviously are still in the midst
of rebuilding and recovering, were folks able to get out of Moore? Are
there shelter provisions for people that didn`t have a place to go?
LEWIS: We do not have public shelters. They have been warned all day
there was potential of this as but as we cross I-35, it was literally a
parking lot. So the area they are reporting a tornado crossing, I don`t
know where the people are going that are stuck in the cars.
HAYES: You are telling me people are stuck on the road right now as
the tornado spins through.
LEWIS: We are basically in rush hour right now and yes, I-35 was
totally stopped, as far as we could see, when we left.
HAYES: Are you in your car right now, Sergeant?
LEWIS: Yes. We are in our car trying to get away from it right now.
HAYES: Do you have a sense of where the tornado is? You are driving
around in the darkness I guess.
LEWIS: It is still a little bit light here. It is basically directly
northwest of where we are at right now.
HAYES: Is there any way -- so folks are right now on the road and
can`t get off the road as the tornadoes spin through.
That Sergeant Jeremy Lewis from the Moore Police Department, who, as
you heard, is driving away from tornado that is now spinning its way
through Moore. This is their rush hour, he said. There are cars that are
jammed in traffic on the road. We are going to continue to monitor we are
going to continue to monitor this area of Oklahoma City. Of course just
two weeks after the historically destructive tornado that hit Moore. That
All In for this evening. Our coverage continues with the Rachel Maddow
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