Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

August 6, 2013

May tornadoes had local impact

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — Areas far north of the Garvin County border are still dealing with recovery and rebuilding efforts after a couple of days of storms dropped destructive tornadoes back in May.

However, what many residents in communities like Pauls Valley may not realize is what was assumed to be calm nights in comparison turned out instead to not leave everything unscathed as originally thought.

For Southern Oklahoma Resource Center Administrator Jeff Livingston, one of those evenings was harrowing enough as mother nature not only brought some of the damage to the campus right outside of town, they’re still dealing with cleanup efforts of their own.

“The storms that ripped through here back in May closed some buildings down,” said Livingston, who took time to mention a few locations that at least sustained significant wind damage.

“We had to end up tearing down on the south end of the maintenance building an enclosed wash bay that had a flat roof.”

Livingston’s best guess is that it could have been a smaller tornado that picked up the roof and moved the wall out before setting it back down and in order to save the automotive shop next door, a demolition company had to remove that part of the building.

There were also windows blown out, windshields shattered on vehicles around campus, which he finds surprising since it didn’t do anything in town when he witnessed some of those funnels dipping dangerously close to more populated areas there.

“This is the same evening that all those tornadoes were going through like Ratliff City,” said Livingston, adding how procedures had been followed where the residents sheltered in place in corridors and how he was thankful spots where the clients did not see damage that was far more severe. “It was May 30.”

Insurance adjusters were out on the campus as recently as a week ago surveying the site again and meant some creative rearranging during what is supposed to be their transition of clients to the community. It resulted in services that were in hilltop being moved out of that structure, going to buildings that had been closed previously and repurposed for the time being.

These were primarily vocational services and the building being used is what is referred to as the lodge or old canteen, said Livingston. Reports also included about $30,000 in damage to Multiple Unit South’s roof.

“The whole south side of the hilltop complex, it peeled the roof back and flooded it,” said Livingston, noting how they also lost a tram that was used to transport residents around campus after it was picked up and then dropped upside down. “That building is chained off and most likely we’ll take it down as well… got a lot of interior damage, mold.”

Editor’s note: A story on where the campus is as far as transition as well as an update on employees and services will be featured in a future edition of the Democrat.