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Local Red Cross Worker Shares Experience from Sandy
As hundreds of volunteers from across the country continue to help in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the job is over for one Oklahoma man.
As a disaster coordinator, Steve Klapp helps in the beginning stages after a disaster like Sandy. It's Klapp's job to survey and assess the damage so the Red Cross knows where relief is needed and where to send additional volunteers. As he puts it, he is the first one in and first one out. Klapp was deployed to New Jersey two days before Sandy made landfall on October 29.
"This storm came, hunkered down, watched the wind blow, watched the the road flood across the street from the hotel and we lost power. It was completely dark in the hotel," Klapp said.
Klapp said the power did not come back for several days, interrupting disaster relief plans.
"The first couple of days, the initial headquarters' power was out , so we had to work out of an impromptu headquarters which was difficult," Klapp said. "Cell towers were out and internet was pretty much nonexistent, so it made it very challenging."
But Klapp said his job was successful, in part because of technology developed in Oklahoma. For the first time, instead of sending ground crews to survey the hard-hit areas, the Red Cross used a sort of reverse look up. The new technology allows the organization to get address information from other disaster agencies, like FEMA to collect information on damaged homes.
"We were very pleased with the outcome of that because we did not have 150 people on the ground. We were able to collect the same information with a team of seven people and that was a pretty amazing job," Klapp said.
Klapp said about 42,000 homes were damaged in New Jersey alone.
In total, 22 volunteers from the Central and Western Oklahoma Region helped or are helping in the northeast. One addition volunteer from the chapter will be deployed on Monday.
Posted: Friday, November 16 2012, 09:41 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado watch issued for western, central Oklahoma
May 18, 2013 22:47 GMT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A tornado watch is in effect for western and central Oklahoma.
The weather system brought severe thunderstorms to the Altus and Clinton areas, as well as Harper County late Saturday afternoon. There were no reports of rotation as evening approached but the tornado watch lasts until 11 p.m. Saturday.
The dangerous weather is forecast to continue into Sunday night as the system progresses to the east.
The tornado watch area Saturday stretched from eastern edge of the Panhandle to include the Oklahoma City area.
The Storm Prediction Center says the greatest threat of severe storms Saturday is in northwest Oklahoma, east of the Panhandle. Forecasters warn that the system could also bring large hail.
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