The tornado that touched down in Moore, Oklahoma, on Wednesday was the fifth to hit the small city in as many years. Although no one was seriously hurt this time, the twister triggered painful memories.
"It has been kind of like deja vu," Mayor Glenn Lewis told The Moore Daily, a local news outlet. "We have experienced so many ups and downs here with all of the times we have experienced tornadoes. And you have just got to wonder why this keeps happening."
Two years ago, on May 20, 2013, a massive tornado all but leveled the town outside Oklahoma City, killing 24 and injuring 212, including several children whose school was hit. More than 1,000 homes were destroyed. So was a local medical center.
The town quickly rebuilt, adopting some of the nation's toughest building regulations, including more than two thousand new storm shelters.
Three years earlier, on May 10, 2010, three tornadoes touched down in Moore. The biggest, which left a 24-mile path of destruction, killed two and injured 49.
Moore has been hit by 23 tornadoes since the late 1800s, according to the National Weather Service. The deadliest was on May 3, 1999. That one killed 36 and injured 583.
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Wednesday's tornado hit just after 6:30 p.m. local time and appeared to follow a similar path as the 2013 twister, but it was much weaker, local NBC affiliate KFOR reported.
It caused minor damage, overturning cars on an interstate, toppling trees, blowing out windows and knocking out power to hundreds of households. The dozen or so reported injuries were minor.
"I really can't believe it. You know, we just experienced some of this a couple of years ago," Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told the station. "Just so soon — it's difficult."
On Thursday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin visited a damaged school and reflected on the town's hard luck. “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,” Fallin said.
By then, the cleanup had begun.
"You don't have to call the police officers back into work. You don't have to call the firefighters. They come and do it by themselves," Mayor Lewis told The Moore Daily.
"They know exactly what to do. That is the thing that struck me most last night is that everybody knew what to do because they have so much experience at this."
— Jon Schuppe