A year ago today, one of the most destructive tornadoes in the United States' history struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore. The twister was measured as an EF-5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with peak winds estimated at 210 mph.
The funnel was more than a mile wide at one point, stayed on the ground for 39 minutes and ripped through 17 miles of the Sooner State. Twenty-four people lost their lives. Almost 400 were injured.
My brother was in the area of the 1999 storm, but thankfully not in its direct path. My parents spent almost three decades in western Oklahoma, dodging spring storms of their own. And I still have friends in the Sooner State. I know while the scars will remain, the state's residents are resilient and will make it back from this tragedy.
Unfortunately, devastating weather is a regular occurrence in every state. And folks who live in Tornado Alley, which seems to be expanding every eyar, know that they must keep an eye n the skies and and ears alert for storm sirens.
In just the last week, terrifying looking storms threatened parts of Wyoming and Nebraska.
Ian S. Livingston snapped this breathtaking shot of a May 19 massive super cell dwarfing a Nebraska farm's silos.
Remember these photos and videos the next time you're sitting through an action movie. Mother Nature truly is hands down the best special effects wizard ever. You can see more of her work in the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang collection of recent storm photos.
Earlier storms, damage, tax relief: Mother Nature was in a worse mood last month. In April she whacked several states with severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding.
The outbreaks were bad enough that the Internal Revenue Service is offering residents of several states some tax relief.
Specifically, affected taxpayers have more time to file any tax material that might have been or is coming due. In most cases, filers now have until Oct. 15 to file required tax paperwork.
Uncle Sam's tax collector also it cutting relief workers in the disaster areas some slack. Volunteers and others affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization that is providing relief services in the covered disaster areas also are entitled to the same tax relief.
It typically takes a while for information to filter through the federal system, so you can check the IRS' special Web page where it updates disaster tax relief as necessary.
Unfortunately, that's all too often.
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