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May 22, 2013

NATION: Tornado damage nears $2 billion; mayor wants shelter requirement

MOORE, Okla. — The Oklahoma Insurance Department says a preliminary estimate suggests the cost of the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore could be more than $2 billion.

Spokeswoman Calley Herth tells The Associated Press that the early tally of damages is based on visual assessments of an extensive damage zone stretching more than 17 miles and the fact that the tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes.

She says the monetary damage caused by Monday’s tornado could be greater than the $2 billion in damage from the 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., which left a smaller, three-mile trail of destruction.

The mayor of the Oklahoma City suburb battered by a monstrous tornado says he is pushing to require safe-room shelters in all new homes.

Glen Lewis said Wednesday he will propose an ordinance in the next couple of days at the Moore City Council that would modify building codes to require the construction of reinforced shelters in every new home in the town of 56,000.

The suburb was also hit by a massive tornado in 1999 that followed nearly the same path as the storm Monday that killed at least 24 people.

Lewis says he is confident he’ll get the four votes needed on the six-member council. The measure could be in force within months.

Underground safe rooms are typically built below garages and can cost around $4,000.

 

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