MOORE, Okla. – New information is coming in on the damage caused by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. At the request of the Department of Emergency Management for the state of Oklahoma, Civil Air Patrol is flying the tornado paths capturing high-quality imagery to assess the damage from the storms. CAP is also deploying ground teams to go block by block, house by house and document the destruction.
“The damage is difficult to see and process,” said Maj. Sam Ory, ground team leader for the initial response. “Before you get here and witness it, you really can’t imagine a storm causing this destruction.” The damage path in the Moore vicinity is estimated to be 17 miles in length and at its peak was almost 2 miles wide.
CAP’s Oklahoma Wing has flown five sorties taking several hundred digital photos at the request of the state. Wing aircrews flew over the track of the tornados that hit the Shawnee and Edmond areas on Sunday, and are currently flying sorties over the track of the storm that hit Moore and surrounding communities on Monday afternoon.
Ground teams from CAP’s Oklahoma and Kansas wings, at the request of Federal Emergency Management Agency, are taking images of every residence affected by the storm. CAP has additional ground teams responding from the Texas and Arkansas wings to assist in that task.
“More than 100 members from four wings are assisting with air and ground team efforts, and the number of requests is growing by the hour,” said Lt. Col. Russell Davis, CAP’s incident commander for the Oklahoma tornado response. “CAP’s unpaid professionals are ever vigilant, trained and ready to serve our fellow citizens when disaster strikes. Additional CAP volunteers from across the nation will join forces with us, as needed, to get the job done.”
In addition to their flights for the state, members of the Oklahoma Wing are providing air and ground sorties to a combat camera team from Air Combat Command, which plans to do a story on military support of the ongoing relief efforts.